...on our own doorstep

            Botesdale & Rickinghall Streams Project

...a self-help community project jointly sponsored by Botesdale & Rickinghall Parish Councils

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Springing into life...

Streamside News...

30th Oct: Today three volunteers commenced the winter program of work that is scheduled to conclude in early March 2017. The fortnightly working parties provide an ideal opportunity to get out of the house for a couple of on a Sunday morning and help maintain a particularly beautiful part of our village.


24th October: The first working party of the season takes place on Sunday 30th October, commencing at 10:00AM. If you would like to join us just turn-up at the foot of Fen Lane in Botesdale (by the bridge) and be suitably attired for some possibly muddy work!


13th March: The last working party of the winter 2015/16 season was completed today. As is always the case the area benefits greatly from the 50 or so man hours spent each year upon its maintenence. The stream are all flowing well although a felled tree has yet to be removed from the top stream.


28th Feb: Further progress was made during the course of the latest working party activity. The bottom stream, running along the eastern edge of Fen Lane was dredged of some of its silt while the middle stream had a bottleneck successfully removed. The last working party of this campaign will be held on Sunday 13th March. Please attend you will be made very welcome!


21st Feb: Just two more working parties will take place this season on 28th February and 13th March. Please consider helping us, just turn up after 10:00 AM and be prepared to get muddy!


7th Feb: Significant progress was made in clearing the 'middle stream' bed of weed and silt during the course of this week's session. It's hoped that the two Parish Councils will release funds in order that the Payback Team can be engaged for a day to assist in clearing the top stream.


28th Jan: Please note that this weekend's working party has been cancelled. Next W/P to be held on Sunday 7th February from 10:00 AM


17th Jan: The first working party of 2016 commenced the task of clearing the recent storm debris from the streams and adjacent woodland. The new spoil piles of timber tell their own tale.


10th Jan 2016: Is anyone prepared to assist in restoring the streams area to something like its former glory by spending a few Sunday morning hours each month on site? If so please contact Chris Lambert at [email protected]


22nd Feb: There remain just two more working parties before the spring and summer shut down - these being 1st and 15th March.


5th Feb: The third working party of the season takes place on Sunday8th February from 10:00 AM. Why not join us and help maintain this unique village amenity?


19th Jan:The first working party of the new year was successfully completed on Sunday 18th. As is always the case after a long layoff large amounts of fallen tree debris was cleared from across the site. A further working party takes place on 25th January.


5th Jan: The first working party of 2015 will take place on Sunday 18th January. We will assemble at the foot of Fen Lane at 10:00 AM.


23rd Feb: The winter's floods and gales had left much work to do throughout the streams area. A number of trees were blown over and the stream bed had three separate blockages, all caused by fallen tree debris. These have all been cleared thanks to the efforts of Ryan Seeley and the most recent working party. The results of their labour can be seen in the five large piles of detritus which will be burned in a few weeks time.

The last working party of the season will take place on Sunday 9th March.


7th Feb: For the second time in 12 months the streams area has been submerged under floodwaters due to unprecedented rainfall over the winter. In addition a resident is constantly interfering with the flow of the top stream by removing the sluice stones adjacent to the footbridge, causing the top stream level to drop significantly exposing large areas of very deep silt.


15th Jan: With the help of Ryan Seeley much progress continues to be made. Having completed the first stage of undergrowth clearance and silt removal  from the top stream, work has now commenced on the stream bed that runs alongside Fen Lane. Another important aspect of this ongoing work is the management of the ivy, this plant being the root cause of many trees being lost in the recent gales.


19th Dec: We are hoping for a large turnout on Sunday (22nd) for our last working party of 2013. Rakes will be required to further add to the heaps of silt which now forms part of the top stream's newly defined banks. WELLINGTON BOOTS ESSENTIAL!


18th Dec: Much has been achieved this week by Ryan Seeley who has made significant progress by removing overhanging foliage from the top stream's south eastern bank.


Ist Dec: The second session directed solely at clearing foliage from the south eastern bank of the top stream has been completed. Progress is far slower than anticipated and work will now continue deep into this season's activities. Native Primroses were also planted along the stream banks this morning.


16th Nov: Today further progress was made on the removal of overhanging foliage from the trees and bushes bordering the top stream. Another session or two will be rquired in order to finish the task which was interupted by both volunteers falling into the stream simultaneously!!


16th October: The first working party of the 2013/14 season took pace last weekend. Recent rain has provided some much needed water and all streams are flowing, although they remain at a low level. The Payback Team's efforts are clear for all to see and sadly so is that of irresponsible dog owners. Please be careful where you place your feet when walking this area!


26th September: The Parish Council have agreed a scheduled program of works with the Norfolk & Suffolk Probation Trust, once again utilising their Payback Teams. Monthly visits have been planned throughout the autumn and winter concluding with a final visit in March. The Streams Project will be the main benificiary of this labour.


2nd September: Just one month to go before the new season of maintenance and restoration commences at the streams. Initial work will include a thorough tidying of the area. Today the Payback Team strimmed the area, enabling the streams to become visible once more having been hidden from view for the last two months last two months by nettle growth.


10th July: Botesdale Parish Council are currently corresponding with agents acting for Anglian Water concerning the letting of land surrounding the pumping station in Fen Lane. If negotiations are successful then the land will be used as a public amenity following renovation and planting.


22nd June: Over the last ten days the trees in the willow plantation have cast their seeds to the wind leaving the adjacent ground and waterways covered in a blanket of what appears to be summer snow.

The undergrowth adjoining the footpaths and Fen Lane is in urgent need of cutting, but without the intervention of Suffolks County Council's Payback Team working parties, this will not happen in 2013.



3rd June: The two meadows adjoining our streams are a site to behold in the June sunshine. They are both brim full of buttercups and are attracting many insects and birds.

The top stream also has its first Iris in flower this morning. If the weather holds this will become a profusion of blooms by the end of the week.


29th May: A further 'out of season' working party is required in order to strim the undergrowth, particularly along the length of the metaled section of Fen Lane. Will those willing to help call Chris Lambert on 01379 897053.


22nd May: An interim working party will be held this Sunday 26th May in order to clear debris and litter from the stream beds. Once again the wooden rustic fence alongside the top stream has been vandalised, with cross members being thrown into the stream.


2nd May: Sticklebacks have been spotted in the Swimming Ditch, a first siting in over five years of looking.


1st May: The website is just six months old this week and the 500th hit has recently been recorded on the counter at the foot of this page. Hardly globally viral - but mighty oaks etc...


14th April: A three handed working party removed two of the remaining blockages from the 'Swimming Ditch' earlier today. A railway sleeper, tree trunks and large boughs were amongst the many items creating the blockages, now removed and residing on its banks.


13th April: Two blockages in the main stream will be cleared on Sunday morning (14th) along with a spring litter-pick of the area.


10th April: The two concrete pipes that had been pushed into the feeder stream have been re-cycled and will now make good hardcore for a driveway or shed base, should anyone want to collect the rubble.


2nd April: So just where does the Little Ouse rise? An historical source has placed this as being in the Frith just off the Redgrave to Lopham road. Aerial survey images from Google Maps places some doubt on the validity of this theory. This Spring an expedition will be launched to find the real source of the Little Ouse river. Watch this space for details.


March 18th: Work has ceased for the spring and summer break and will recommence in the autumn. Throughout the intervening period the site's footpaths will be maintained by the parish council. However in the meantime litter, mainly in the form of cans and bottles will accumulate, unless those of us that walk through the area regularly pick them up when spotted.


March 8th: The invasive plant which inhabits the beds of a number of the streams has been named as Fools Watercress or Apium nodiflorum (a plant native to the U.K.) by Doctor Helen Smith of the Little Ouse Headwaters Project.


Further updates have been added to the site including an eighteenth century court document relating to Botesdale Fen submitted by Diane Maywort.


March 3rd: Today was to be the last of our fortnightly working parties until the autumn, but our clearing up activity was not completed, and therefore a further  date of March 10th has been added to the calendar. In the interim the large pile of tree litter that has been assembled at the foot of Fen Lane will be burned shortly.


Feb 20th: Two small landmarks today. Firstly, the Little Ouse Headwaters Project (LOHP) activated a link to this site, while the site counter at the foot of this page  moved into three figures. Someone once said "No matter how small the forward step - it's still progress."


Feb 17th: More progress was made further upstream today when two significant blockages were cleared. Both blockages had almost totally dammed the main stream and were seriously affecting its flow.


Feb 10th: Three volunteers braved the wintery weather this morning in the penultimate session of this season's activities. Tasks completed today included the removal of a three metre long high spot in the ditch alongside Fen Lane, the removal from the top stream bed of a large cast pot and galvanised bucket, a litter pick and further dredging activity in the top stream.


Feb 2nd: Discussing the village streams can at times be an arduous business. Why? Because it's necessary to describe the location of the stream in question before commencing any discussion on a particular brook. In view of this we would like our fellow villagers' to help by providing a pool of names (no pun intended) from which an on-line village poll will select the winners. Go to the log-in page to make your suggestion(s).


Jan 27th: A 10 day long cold snap during which three heavy snow falls took place and the temperature reached -12 degrees C at one point, ended rapidly overnight. THe resultant snow 'melt' and heavy rain caused extensive flooding in the streams area and surrounding fields. These images can now be found on the Photos page.


Jan 18th: Following the record rainfall throughout the last eight months of 2012, water levels in our streams continues to be good while the water table  remains high. As a result spring water can be seen forcing its way to the surface in the ditch adjacent to the gated entrance to the 'Plantation' field along the Fen Lane spur fueling this short stretch of stream.


Dec. 13th: Four years after the initial inspection of the area was conducted the Botesdale Streams Project website is launched. Its aim is to inform those in the community with an interest in this wonderful local amenity of the ongoing work and the progress being made by the small team of volunteers.

As you have found us, it's either because you have stumbled across us by chance, or alternatively have actively sought us out. If the latter is the case it probably means that you've an interest in our beautiful village and its environs, or are sufficiently inquisitive to establish just what is occuring at the foot of Fen Lane. Whatever the reason, the following web pages set out to inform and perhaps inspire...

We are fortunate that within the Parishes of Botesdale and Rickinghall we have a well used network of footpaths accessing the variety of countryside, landscape and habitats that make this such an interesting area to explore on foot.

The area of the streams which are the focus of this project is quite compact, in my experience, unique in character, being fed by a number of springs, and reflecting the drainage provisions for the land use of earlier times. Located within five minutes' walk of the Market Place, the areas of interest and activity of the project are shared between Botesdale and Rickinghall Parishes, and have been the subject of intermittent community activities over the years interspersed with periods of neglect. One recurring theme has been attempts to cultivate watercress, but the necessary conditions are difficult to achieve as we observe the cycles of drought and flood.

The current project activities are overseen by Botesdale Parish Council, but an interest in the habitats and wildlife that are so easily accessible from either parish is the key to participation. We are aware that by their nature, footpaths and streams adjoin private and commercial property, and the Parish Council will endeavour to improve this fascinating area of the community.

Cllr. William Sargeant - Chairman Botesdale Parish Council


Next  Working Party


11th December 2016



Call Chris on 01379 897053

The Parish Council's view...

Botesdale & Rickinghall streams

Our stream network...

Welcome to our website...

Images Dave Green

Streams first working party of 2016-2017 season a

We've made a start on clearing the nettles, re-profiling the lane edges and cleaning the gullies of leaves and other tree litter. The main stream bed has a large fallen tree inhibiting its flow which will require the use of a winch and Landrover to aid its removal. Can anyone help with this task?

If you are looking for some exercise and fresh air while putting something back into the community give Chris Lambert a call on 01379 897053 or just turn-up at our next working party which will be held on Sunday 13th November (Rembrance Sunday) at 10 AM Meet us at the foot of Fen Lane by the bridge over the stream.

Season 2016/2017 gets underway...

Streams fungi first working party of season 2016-2017 ed

Seen 'down at the

streams' this week...