From internationally rare chalk rivers in its rural headwaters to the gravel pits and reservoirs in the Colne Valley Regional Park , the Colne catchment is a truly special place, possessing a rich and diverse range of waters. Waters which support amazing wildlife provide a wide range of opportunities for business and recreation as well as supplying water to meet public demand.

The Upper Colne and six of its tributaries are chalk streams. They are a particularly special feature of the catchment.  Not only are they home to some of the catchment’s rarer species such as water vole, grayling and the brook lamprey, they are also the life blood of the area’s water bodies providing crystal clear, mineral rich water throughout the year.

The Grand Union Canal runs throughout the catchment and is connected with the rivers Bulbourne, Gade and Colne.

The catchment supports a range of activities and services for those that live and visit the area. Recreation on the rivers within the catchment consists mainly of informal waterside activities such as walking, bird watching and angling, whilst opportunities such as water-skiing, sailing and windsurfing are enjoyed by many on some of the gravel pits and reservoirs.

There is a long history of partnership working in the Colne Catchment. The Colne Catchment Action Network (ColneCAN)  ties together the work of the Colne Valley Regional Park and the Chilterns Chalk Stream Projectwith the wider catchment. ColneCAN brings together water companies, local authorities, charities, anglers, conservationists, local residents etc to ensure catchment-wide thinking and local action, a list of partners can be seen here.

A series of workshops helped to identify a shared vision for the Colne and six aims. New projects and funding opportunities have  been progressed since the first catchment workshop back in April 2012, but there is still a lot more to do. As the Colne CAN progresses we will continue to build strong relationships to involve more communities, businesses and local organisations so that we get as many people as possible working to improve our waterbodies. We want catchment wide thinking with local action.

All this cannot be done for nothing, we need resources. It is essential to identify and tap into funding streams, people’s skills and expertise and the willingness to give up some time to implement this plan.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.