The river Kennet - our beautiful chalk stream
The River Kennet is one of England's most important chalk streams. Many of the wild animals and plants of the Kennet and its banks are increasingly scarce; fortunately, because it has an extensive range of rare plants and animals that are unique to chalk watercourses, our part of the river is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The protection that this status affords means that many endangered species of plants and animals can be found here.
Animal species such as the Water Vole, Grass Snake, Reed Bunting, Brown Trout, and Brook Lamprey flourish here, despite being in decline in other parts of the country.
Crayfish are very common in parts of the river. However, most are now the alien American Signal Crayfish, having escaped from crayfish farms. And to supporting this varied wildlife food chain, there are the insects, many hundreds of species, common and rare. There are large hatches of mayflies, whose long-tailed, short-lived adults are a favourite food of trout; many species of water beetle and insect larvae. caddisflies are also very numerous, especially in the late summer. Alongside the river, the reed beds, grasses and other vegetation support many other insect species, including the Scarlet tiger moth, Poplar Hawk Moths and Privet Hawks. The white drifts of Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus) in early summer are characteristic of chalk and limestone rivers; there are superb displays by the footbridge.
Action for the River Kennet is a group of people who care about the River Kennet including locals, tourists, visitors and environmentalists who want to see a valuable chalk stream protected.
Remember - The Countryside Code
Please take special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife, and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside.
Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals - so please take your litter home with you.
Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property - so please be careful with naked flames and cigarettes at any time of the year.
Leave gates in the state you find them; a farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water.
Follow paths unless wider access is available, such as on open country or registered common land.
Leave machinery and farm animals alone - don’t interfere with animals even if you think they’re in distress. Try to alert the farmer instead.