Friday, 3 July 2009

Rivers in Dorset

The River Frome (pronounced /fruːm/) is a river in Dorset in the south of England. At 30 miles (48 km) long it is the major chalkstream in southwest England. It is navigable upstream from Poole Harbour as far as the town of Wareham.

The River frome meandering through the countryside

The river rises in the Dorset Downs at Evershot, passes through Maiden Newton, Dorchester, West Stafford and Woodsford. At Wareham it and the River Piddle, also known as the River Trent, flow into Poole Harbour via the Wareham Channel.

The River Frome at Dorchester

The catchment area is 181 square miles (454 km²) map, approximately one sixth of the county.
East of Dorchester the river runs through unresistant sands, clays and gravels, which would have originally been capped by chalk which is still extant in the Dorset Downs to the north and Purbeck Hills to the south. The valley has wide flood plains and marshes and gave the name to the Durotriges, water dwellers, the Celtic tribe of Dorset. The river forms a wide, shallow ria at its estuary, Poole Harbour.
Prior to the end of the last ice age the Purbeck Hills were continuous with the Isle of Wight and the Frome would have continued east through what is now Poole Harbour and Poole Bay, into The Solent, collecting the Stour, Beaulieu, Test and Itchen, before flowing into the Channel east of what is now the Isle of Wight.

The Romans built a 9 km aqueduct to supply their new town of Durnovaria (Dorchester); it started near the modern-day Littlewood Farm, Frampton, using a stream running from Compton Valence, and closely follows the contours of the chalk bluff to the southwest of the River Frome. Some traces of the aqueduct terrace can still be seen at Bradford Peverell and on the Dorchester by-pass. It has been calculated that water would have reached Dorchester at the rate of 13 million gallons per day. It is where the technical word torrent comes from.

The Frome estuary at Wareham

The Danes made frequent raids up the river.
The town walls at Wareham were built in 876AD, possibly by Alfred the Great, to defend the town against this threat.
Until the late 19th century, the river was an important part of the trade route for the export of Purbeck Ball Clay from the Isle of Purbeck. Originally the clay was brought to wharves at Wareham by pack horse from the clay pits to the south. In around 1830 the Furzebrook Railway was built, connecting the pits to a wharf at Ridge. This route was eventually superseded by the use of the main line rail network, and eventually by road.
The Frome has suffered a dramatic decline in the run of salmon in recent years. In 1988 over 4000 fish ran the river, by 2004 the run had fallen to 750 fish. This is partly due to obstacles at the Bindon Mill hatches and Louds Mill weir and partly to changed agricultural methods

The River Wey of Dorset, south west England, is a short river 9 kilometres long.

Radipole Lake

The river rises in Upwey, where the spring forms Upwey Wishing Well, at the foot of the South Dorset Downs, a ridge of chalk hills that separate Weymouth from Dorchester. Most of the river's course is in the built-up area of Weymouth, running through the former villages (now suburbs) of Upwey, Broadwey, Nottington, and Radipole, through Radipole Lake and into Weymouth Harbour. The river is important for wildlife and Radipole Lake is a National Nature Reserve run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Source of the River Wey found at The Wishing Well

The main street that runs through the village follows for the most part the River Wey from its source at the Upwey Wishing Well as it heads towards Broadwey.

The River Stour is a 60.5 mile (97 km) long river which flows through Wiltshire and Dorset in southern England, and drains into the English Channel. It is sometimes called the Dorset Stour to distinguish it from rivers of the same name.

The source of the river is at Stourhead, in Wiltshire, where it forms a series of artificial lakes which are part of the Stourhead estate owned by the National Trust.

meanders through villages and countryside

It flows south into Dorset through the Blackmore Vale and the towns of Gillingham and Sturminster Newton, where it is joined by the River Lydden. At Blandford Forum the river breaks through the chalk ridge of the Dorset Downs, and from there flows south east into the heathlands of south east Dorset. At Wimborne Minster it is joined by the River Allen, and at its estuary at Christchurch it is joined by the River Avon before it flows into the English Channel.
For many miles the river is followed by the route of the now disused Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, which bridged the river five times.
Because much of the river's course is across clay soil, the river's waterlevel varies greatly. In summer, low water level makes the river a diverse and important habitat, supporting many rare plants. In winter, the river often floods, and is therefore bordered by wide and fertile flood plains.
A number of towns and villages in Dorset are named after the river, including East and West Stour, Stourpaine, Stourton Caundle, Stour Row, Stour Provost, Sturminster Newton, and Sturminster Marshall.

Sturminster Newton Mill
my mother used to live about a 10min walk
from here.

Sturminster Newton is famous for its water mill and town bridge, which still bears the notice warning potential vandals that damaging the bridge is punishable by penal transportation.

River Stour Estuary at Christchurch

River Allen is a river in the county of Dorset. It has its confluence with the River Stour in Wimborne Minster.

The River Cerne is a ten mile long river in Dorset, England, which rises in the Chalk hills of the Dorset Downs at Minterne Magna, flows down a valley through Cerne Abbas and Charminster, and flows into the River Frome in Dorchester.

River Cerne at Charminster

The River Bourne is a small river in Dorset.
It flows into the English Channel at Bournemouth, taking its name simply from Middle English bourn or burn, a small stream, and giving it to the town at its mouth.
The Bourne stream comprises two main tributaries totalling just over 13km of waterway; of this total length 5.7km is culverted and 7.5m is open stream (Hallett, 2004). Its drainage catchment is some 14km2, about 70% of which lies within the Borough of Poole.
The stream is fed from a number of sources but there is little documentary evidence and the actual origins of some are unknown. The head of the stream consists of three culverts emerging from below Ringwood Road; it is believed that one drains Canford Heath, one is fed from the Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water works at Francis Avenue and the third is supplied by road run-off. After flowing across Alderney Recreation Ground the stream is culverted for 2.4km and re-emerges at Coy Pond Gardens. The stream is also fed by natural seeps and flushes, and there are 62 documented surface water discharges to the watercourse.
In the upper reaches, the catchment boundaries are approximately defined by Ringwood Road to the west, Wallisdown Road to the north and Ashley Road/Poole Road to the south. In the lower reaches, the catchment width gradually narrows towards the outfall at Bournemouth Pier. The overall fall between the highest levels in the upper catchment to the Poole Bay outfall is approx. 60m, giving an overall gradient of approx. 1:100 which is considered to be steep.
Reaching Bournemouth, it flows through public gardens, known as the Upper, Central and Lower Gardens. It goes underground at The Square (which divides the Central Gardens from the Lower Gardens) and again just before it reaches the beach immediately east of Bournemouth Pier, so that its mouth is no longer visible.

The River Hooke in Dorset, England, runs from its source at Toller Whelme through the villages of Hooke, Kingcombe, Toller Porcorum, and Toller Fratrum to join the Frome at Maiden Newton, a course of some 6 miles. The river was formerly called the Toller, whence the name of the three Toller villages, as well as of the hundred of Tollerford: its present name has apparently been taken from that of the village of Hooke by back-formationThe Moors River is a river in east Dorset, England which starts at the point where the River Crane and the Ebblake Stream meet, at Ebblake, south of Verwood.
It runs south then southeast, past Bournemouth International Airport and Hurn to join the River Stour at Blackwater, Dorset.
It is well-known to dragonfly enthusiasts as the last site in Britain where Orange-spotted Emerald occurred.

The Sydling Water is an eight km (five mile) long river in Dorset, England, which flows from north to south from Up Sydling until it joins the River Frome near Grimstone.
The source of the river is a spring at Up Sydling. It passes the deserted mediaeval village of Elston and is then crossed at a ford by the road from Marrs Cross to Cerne Abbas. It then flows through the village of Sydling St. Nicholas and through rural countryside until it goes under Grimstone Viaduct and soon afterwards into the River Frome near Grimstone. The 'valley road' south of the village of Sydling St. Nicholas closely follows the river until it reaches Grimstone.
The river is known for its Watercress farms and Trout. Grey Heron and Little Egret are common sights.

The River Tarrant is a 12 km long tributary of the River Stour in Dorset. The valley lies to the east of Blandford Forum and runs through Cranborne Chase, an area of chalk downland. The eight Tarrant Valley villages all bear the name of the river. Listed in order from the river's source they are:
Tarrant Gunville: the source of the river is in the grounds of Gunville House, now demolished
Tarrant Hinton: a village at a crossroads, with a parish church
Tarrant Launceston: a hamlet with a 3-arched 17th century bridge.
Tarrant Monkton: a village with a parish church
Tarrant Rawston: a very small settlement
Tarrant Rushton: a village with a parish church. Near here was a World War II RAF airfield.
Tarrant Keyneston: this is the largest village of the eight; has a parish church
Tarrant Crawford, the final settlement, lies at the confluence of the rivers Tarrant and Stour. Here there is a parish church and Tarrant Abbey farm, where once stood a nunnery. There is also a vineyard here. There were three other Tarrant Communities;
Tarrant Stubhampton north of Tarrant Gunville and part of that Parish: This is now known as Stubhampton.
Tarrant Antioch which may have been an earlier name for Tarrant Rawston, or may have been a distinct community just north of Tarrant Rawston. Tarrant Antioch was served by St Mary Tarrant Crawford, where there was a devotion to St Margaret of Antioch.
Tarrant Preston: This was a hamlet and still exists marked by Preston Farm.
Churches also existed once at Tarrant Launceston (the site is on Higher Dairy Farm), and Tarrant Rawston (which still exists but in private ownership). In the Middle Ages there was a Church at Tarrant Stubhampton. The Church at Tarrant Crawford is looked after by the Redundant Churches Commission, and the Parish is united with Tarrant Keyneston.
A Roman road followed the valley and there are many tumuli on the hills on both sides of the river, evidence of long occupation.

The River Asker is a small river in West Dorset, England.

River Asker at Palmers Brewery

It rises on the banks of Eggardon Hill, near Askerswell, to which it gives its name. It then flows down the Asker Valley, passing near to Yondover, and then Uploders, where many cottages have gardens backing out onto the river. It flows by the playing fields in Uploders, and then passes underneath the road, around 10 metres from an old railway bridge. The River Asker then continues just south of the village of Loders, before reaching Bradpole, where it flows underneath another old bridge, before curving around and going through the Happy Island section, beside the A3066 road and the supermarket Morrisons. It enters Bridport immediately after passing underneath the A3066, and eventually joins up with the River Brit beside Palmers Brewery in the southwest of the town.

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