Launch yourself into Loddon Rivers Week

Come and join the South East Rivers Trust and partners for a fun-packed series of events to improve the health of the River Loddon.

During Loddon Rivers Week, running between Monday 26th September and Sunday 2nd October, there’s something for everyone, whether it is joining in guided walks or donning waders and taking positive action via restoration work in rivers across several parts of the catchment.

You’ll need to sign up for all activities in advance on our events page or via the contact details below.

Connecting you with your local river

The River Loddon, like most rivers in southern England, faces many challenges, such as pollution, invasive species and poor habitat quality and connectivity.  Running since 2017, this special annual focus week gives local people the chance not only to learn about the Loddon and its tributaries but also opportunities to take part in conservation work.

Rising in Basingstoke and stretching across Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire before it runs into the Thames just west of Wargrave, there is plenty that is special about this river catchment. The upper reaches of the Loddon are globally rare chalk stream habitats, which are hugely valuable for biodiversity and home to brown trout, water voles and otters.

Along with our partners, we’ve lined up an inspiring range of events for volunteers to get kitted up in waders or wellies and join in practical work, restoring sections of river. This will improve the waterways, helping make them places where wildlife thrive and where people can enjoy them too.

And if that’s not quite for you, you can join one of our walks and talks to learn more about the river, it’s wildlife – and why it’s special.

River work at Bassetts Mead, part of Loddon Rivers Week

Come and add wood to rivers

In a natural world, rivers are often full of logs and woody material. Adding wood – in various forms – to otherwise uniform rivers is one of the most effective ways we can help a river function more naturally. Adding wood creates diverse habitats that support a wide range of plants and animals.

Wood also provides variety in the river, allowing the water to start flowing in different directions and at different speeds. It creates micro-habitats that are utilised by invertebrates and fish.

Volunteers have several opportunities during Loddon Rivers Week to get stuck in and help rivers:

  • Come and help the South East Rivers Trust continue restoration work that we began over the winter at Ivy Road Recreation Ground, Aldershot. We’ll be installing some brash berms and large woody material, narrowing the channel and varying the flow of the water, for the benefit of wildlife. Sign up to get involved on either Tuesday 27th or Wednesday 28th September (10am to 3pm).
  • Join Tices Meadow Bird Group to enhance a stretch of the River Blackwater near Farnham, to improve fish spawning sites. This group will be doing work both in the river and on dry land. Sign up via the organiser’s Eventbrite listing for the event on Thursday 29th September (10am to 3pm).
  • Help improve habitats at Black Dam Ponds, Basingstoke, on the Upper Loddon on Saturday 1st October. This event will be run by the Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and the Black Dam and Crabtree Volunteer Group. To book, email
Ivy Road Recreation Ground, Blackwater on the Loddon brash berm construction

Improve chalk streams and enjoy fish surveys

Clean, porous gravels are a classic feature of chalk streams. They provide fantastic spawning habitat for fish, such as trout, as well as refuge for many invertebrate species. Chalk streams are a globally rare habitat and are among the most biodiverse of the UK’s rivers.

Nearly all the world’s chalk streams are in England and they represent one of the UK’s most important contributions to global biodiversity. These clear-watered streams are a valuable habitat for Atlantic salmon, sea trout, grayling and lamprey, for otters, water voles and kingfishers, for rare invertebrates such as the winterbourne stonefly, and plants such as water crowfoot.

On Friday 30th September (10am to 4pm), we’re giving river lovers the chance to help us add to the great work our volunteers did last year at Bassetts Mead Local Nature Reserve. Join us to add gravel into the River Whitewater near Hook. Last year, we put in a huge 30 tonnes of new gravel in one day – and this year we’re aiming to do the same. Places must be booked in advance via our events page.

River fans  can also learn more about fish during two fish surveys during the week, led by the Loddon Fisheries & Conservation Consultative. The first is at the Charvil Backwater on Tuesday 27th September and the second on the Emm Brook on Wednesday 28th September. Visit their website for more details and to book.

Loddon gravel work

Fancy a walk and talk instead?

We’ve got some great ways to learn about your local stretch of the Loddon catchment and the issues faced by the waterway and its wildlife.

  • To start the week: explore the history, wildlife and work that has been done to improve Fleet Pond, with a talk from the local Fleet Pond Society on Monday 26th September. Starting at 10.30am, their circular walk will take approximately 1.5 hours. Paths are surfaced, making easy access for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Booking is essential.
  • Put on a pair of wellies and learn about the water cycle and the unique landscape of Greywell Fen with the University of Reading. Also on Monday 26th September, the walk will take approximately two hours.

For all events, book in advance to secure your place.

Guided walks are a popular way to inspire people to care about their local river © South East Rivers Trust

Thank you to our partners

We are grateful to the Environment Agency for the funding which allows us to co-ordinate Loddon Rivers Week.

Our partners for this year’s schedule of events include Loddon Fisheries & Conservation Consultative, University of Reading, Wokingham Borough Council, Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Hook Parish Council, Tices Meadow Bird Group, Surrey County Council, Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, Fleet Pond Society, SOLVE (Save Our Loddon Valley Environment), and Black Dam and Crabtree Volunteer Group.


Environment Agency