The Windrush rolls down from Naunton and although most of the ranunculus disappears, the invertebrate life is very good and turning over a rock will often be a delight
Plenty of caddis, flat bodied nymphs the size of lobsters (OK I exaggerate a little), shrimps and olives.
However, make it downriver a few miles to the steep valley where springs bulge out of the earth, crystal clear, clean and cold. It looks like cress beds were set up there years ago; now being reclaimed by nature but adding a massive dilution and boost to the river. It looks like it doubles in size and bang! It bursts into green and lush life!
The ranunculus is flowering.
And we should remember that the river in the lower reaches, down below Burford and Witney used to look like this as well..
The agriculture looks like the farmers try hard to protect the water. The banks are fenced and the livetock get their water supply from this contraption with which the cattle pump water from the river.
I was struck by the irony that to protect the river, these few cows were kept from drinking from the stream, scuffing a cattle drink into the bank and dropping the occasional cowpat in the river, whilst down at Bourton the river receives effluent from a population equivalent of over 6,400 people and a so far unknown number of untreated sewage discharges.
On goes the river, down to the outskirts of Bourton on the Water. Our phosphate test reading was so low we got a zero on the meter. Things are going to change..