On Saturday 16th March, Windrush Against Sewage Pollution team members will start a walk down the Windrush from its source at Field Barn in Gloucestershire to its confluence with the Thames. The walk will take several weeks as it will be a search for information rather than a race.
Most of the journey will be on private land with the consent of the riparian owners but there are some stretches with public access.
The walk is intended to pursue four themes.
1, Raising public awareness of the value of the river to our environment and our communities. Also to highlight the pollution issues facing the Windrush and many other rivers, and how we can all help to reduce our impact on our waters.
2. Conducting extensive citizen science investigations, supported by professional science of the highest standard.
3. Identifying sources of pollution and seeking swift and effective solutions to remove or reduce their impact.
4. Creating a photographic and written record of the changes and points of interest identified along the way.
The citizen science will include testing river and tributary samples for phosphates, nitrates and ammonia. There will be other tests which we will reveal and develop along the way. Riverfly sampling as an indicator or river health will also be conducted extensively.
The professional science will be conducted by scientists from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology as well as others.
We anticipate holding various awareness events along the way and involving interested parties, including other environmental groups.
Thames Water and the Environment Agency have been invited to accompany us and participate where they wish and landowner permissions allow.
This promises to be a fascinating trip which will reveal a lot about the wildlife in and around the river and the changes that happen as the river passes towns and villages and receives effluent, and in some places, occasional untreated sewage, from eight sewage treatment works of varying sizes.
The media are invited to contact us for information and photo opportunities.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more or to get involved in this search for information and solutions.