Hogsmill

The Hogsmill is an urban chalk stream and a well-loved community asset with a fascinating history. It is a vital blue-green space for both people and wildlife.

About the river

The Hogsmill river rises from springs in Ewell where the North Downs chalk meets London clay, making the headwaters of the river a chalk stream.  This amazing habitat is one of only 210 in the world and can support a diverse and unique mix of wildlife.

Along its length, it is joined by five tributaries as it flows northwards before reaching the Thames at Kingston. The river runs through low-lying land, with the upper reaches bordered by green spaces such as the Hogsmill and Bonesgate Open Spaces which provide a valuable green corridor that is well used for walking and recreation. The surrounding landscape becomes more urban as the river winds its way through Kingston, a bustling historic market town.

What makes it special?

The Hogsmill is home to a variety of fish species including dace, chub, eel and gudgeon as well as invertebrates that rely on the river for all or part of their life cycle such as mayflies, freshwater shrimp and damselflies. The surrounding Hogsmill Open Space has a mix of scrub, meadow and woodland habitats that support 26 species of butterfly, 4 species of bat and over 100 species of bird.

The Hogsmill also has an interesting heritage. Historically the river was faster flowing than it is today and provided power for a number of mills along its length which processed grain and gunpowder.

The river has been the inspiration for some notable works of art including John Millais’ Ophelia and William Holman Hunt’s, The Hireling Shepherd. Both give an insight into what the river may have looked like in the 19th Century.

Issues

  • fisheries
  • habitat
  • flooding
  • drought
  • pollution

How Healthy is the Hogsmill?

We host the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership - bringing together key stakeholders and organisations who have an impact on the health of the river to work together to help the Hogsmill thrive again. Visit the Partnership website to learn more about the Hogsmill, the issues it is facing and the work of partners to restore the river for people and wildlife.

Click to find out more

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