South East Rivers Trust

Exploring the Dour


Dour 4

The South East Rivers Trust team spent a fascinating day earlier this month getting to know the Dour – an urban chalkstream which flows into Dover Harbour and is strikingly similar in many ways to south London’s Wandle and Hogsmill.

Guided by our new local partners from the Dover Society, the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership and the Environment Agency, we walked almost the full length of the river from its perennial headwaters near Kearsney Abbey downstream via Crabble Corn Mill to the point where it almost disappears completely into culverts under car parks in the centre of Dover.

Very encouragingly for the future, we spotted several healthy-looking trout, as well as what was clearly a shoal of sea trout desperately trying to jump a weir that is probably impassable even in the highest water: a golden opportunity to start thinking about fish passage solutions for this lovely little urban chalkstream!

Update: Our visit to Dover has now been reported in a longer feature on Flyfishing.co.uk: click here to read it in full

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2 comments on “Exploring the Dour

We are trying to establish who is responsible for the maintenance of the upper reaches of the River Dour in Dover, specifically the man-made channel called “The Leat” that runs through Temple Ewell Village and is joined both ends to the River Dour.
This section of waterway is currently dry, but the channel is virtually completely blocked by vegetation in a 30m section around the Templar Road bridge.
Both Affinity Water (who we believed cleared this channel 3 years ago) and Southern Water deny responsibility, and the Environment Agency also seem keen to distance themselves from this section of waterway.
Do you have any idea who may have ultimate responsibility for this section of waterway?

Jess Mead

Hi Andy, I believe that section of the river is classed as ‘ordinary watercourse’ i.e. not Main River and therefore not the EA’s responsibility specifically, so I think it would be under the jurisdiction of the local authority. However, maintenance isn’t usually carried out along the whole river length any more, but targeted where it is necessary, which is usually beneficial to local wildlife as the river ends up more natural. Low river flows maybe accentuating the problem, and can damage river ecology by reducing water velocities making flowing environments become stagnant or even dry. Often such bifurcations (where a river splits into two, before rejoining) like the section you mention, have a preferential route when river levels are low, so flows will be concentrated down one branch to protect the ecology. So the current dry state of the section maybe natural given the time of year and dry weather of late. Hope that helps.

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