Down below the cress beds where we left off and the woods below, the river takes on some tight curves for which the Windrush is renowned.
Clear and lush. Fish darting here and there, too fast for my camera skills and many more than I have seen up to this point. Some bank work has been done to restrict the channel and provide another habitat of sheltered water behind the woven fence.
A crane fly showed itself, hatched maybe from the water, maybe land. Any experts out there might know about this particular species of the big family.
From the river, mayfly were hatching and being taken by fish as they finished egg laying and tumbled onto the river to die and rejoin the circle of life as food for the fish and birds.
It was all looking great and then I came across this pipe feeding a short ditch to the river just before the bridge carrying the main road. It is on the left and you can see what is probably road run off with whatever that brings from the hundreds of thousands of cars and lorries that pass that way. It was a nasty colour and billowed grey clouds as it mixed with the clear stream
Unhappily reminiscent of the colour of the main river in the lower reaches. Remember our before and after images?
Trout were taking Mayfly in the stretch above the town and I may be posting some video if I can get it edited.
I took a water sample and tested it for phosphate with our meter. Archie...nice name, took care of the meter as it counted down to make a reading of so low it read zero on the meter. Good news, and backed up by the visibly healthy weed and clear water.
Carry on downriver, and if you follow the sign saying Windrush Way, you will come to this Cotswold town gem.
Two mallards were taking their food from the weedbeds as we walked down the path following the straight cut channel, set out many years ago.
To where the river disappears down a steep narrow gap and into the town centre.
Iconic images of Bourton on the Water abound here and we also became the subject of some tourists' large lenses.
The gravel bed is clear and the weed now absent, possibly the result of so many paddling tourists, children, dogs, and grazing ducks. However, I did see some trout here and there may even be one or two in the photos but their camouflage is good.
I took another phosphate sample to see if anything had changed. Still too low to register just above the Birdland fence. Good news.
Lots of birds in there I thought, so I wondered what that might do to the phosphate level in the river as it left the downstream end just before I packed up to go home for the day.
Good news. Still too low to register phosphate on our meter.
It is important to remember that these are spot checks so levels can change but, so far on the journey, apart from around the Naunton Sewage Works, we have been consistently recording low and very low levels of phosphate and where we have seen that, we have generally seen a healthy looking river.
Coming up - The River Dikler joins and we head towards the now famous Sherborne brook and the Barringtons.