Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Springs of Rivers project on the Teme

At this point on its journey to the sea, the Teme changed its character and appearance. The Lone Piners had many times seen it splashing over the weir at Ludlow and sparkling in the sunshine as it ran under the battlements of that ancient town. Nearer to its source, and before it reached the gorge, it meandered through pleasant water meadows, and even when there was very little water in its shallow bed it ran fast. 
But here it changed. Now it was sullen and deep in the limestone gorge where it had been cutting through the soft rock for hundreds of years, and the Lone Piners, standing on the bank, wondered what it would look like when the rain on the Welsh border brought the storm waters rushing downstream, tearing at the banks and roaring into the gorge. 
Malcolm Saville The Secret of the Gorge (1958)

Good news from Shropshire courtesy of the Heritage Lottery Fund:
The beauty of the River Teme was immortalised in A.E. Housman’s collection of poems A Shropshire Lad, but in the 118 years since it was published the river has suffered a drastic change. 
Despite its high conservation status, species such as salmon and eel are in serious decline, and wildflower meadows and woodlands that once characterised the river valley are being lost. 
The Springs of Rivers project, which will be managed by SRT, aims to reconnect and improve more than 200km of river through a number of linked initiatives. These will include practical conservation; a range of community events; improving access to the river; and creating volunteering opportunities and apprenticeships. 
A new visitor centre will form a hub for the community across the river. An educational programme is also planned that will aim to work with schools and their local rivers and streams across the region.
The name of the project comes from this Housman verse:
In valleys of springs of rivers,
By Ony and Teme and Clun,
The country for easy livers,
The quietest under the sun,
My photo shows the Teme just over the Herefordshire border in Leintwardine. The Downton Gorge, which inspired Malcolm Saville, lies between there and Ludlow.

The Teme, despite what the great man wrote, does not reach the sea. It flows into the Severn south of Worcester.

Thanks to the excellent @andybodders on Twitter for the lead.

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