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VEGETATION IN BRITISH RIVERS. 1982. Nature Conservancy Council. 2 Vols., 125 pp and 320 pp. ISBN 0-86139-203-5


Volume 1

This book is being published by the Nature Conservancy Council thanks to the interest shown, and help given, by Dr C. Newbold and Dr N.T.H. Holmes of the Chief Scientist's Team. The author hopes that its use to the Conservancy will justify the assistance so readily provided.

The book is intended for anyone interested in rivers and able to name the flowering plants. It can be used either to provide base-line data to assess changes occurring in rivers, or to help in the understanding and interpretation of river vegetation. It may also assist in the selection of rivers or reaches which might be studied in detail to assess their conservation value. The amount of damage to lowland rivers can be determined with the aid of Haslam & Wolseley (1981).

The work is in two volumes. Volume 1 contains the general text and the descriptions of individual rivers, and Volume 2 has the Vegetation Maps of rivers. Regrettably, the coverage of Britain is far from complete, but the book does include the main types of river, and main plant communities occurring in mainland England, Scotland and Wales. Adjacent islands, except for Anglesey and the Isle of Wight, were not surveyed.


Volume 2

This volume consists of River Maps, with vegetation recorded at point sites (usually bridges). The scale bar on each Map is 10km long and the grid north is at the top of the page.

The contractions used for the species names, and the order in which the species are placed at each site (dystrophic to eutrophic) are shown in Table 1. Two classes of abundance are used: Much and Little. The 'Much' records have the names underlined. Unfortunately it is not possible, for reasons of space, to give the physical parameters of each site (width, depth, flow type, etc.). Some of this is referred to in Volume 1. If the information is relevant to a serious research project, it can be supplied by the author. Rivers are numbered according to Chapter. For example, 4.15 refers to a river described in Chapter 4 of the text and is the fifteenth example in the chapter. When several surveys are carried out in different years, these are subdivided as e.g. 4.15a, 4.15b. The same applies to large rivers covering more than one page.

Very few rivers surveyed in 1980 have been Mapped, but they are described in the text. From Maps showing replicate surveys, the amount of variation between surveys can be seen: it should be noted that clay streams are more variable than chalk streams, for instance.

As many rivers in different parts of the country bear the same name, each is here designated by their River Division or other river area. The contractions used (e.g. Th. for Thames Water Authority) are listed in Table 2. Where this designation is inadequate, a further one is used, e.g. Th. (Swindon) Ray, Th. (Oxford) Ray.

The size of river shown on each map is entirely arbitrary. It may consist of one, or of a dozen named rivers. The only way to locate a particular river is to consult the index, which lists, as appropriate, the Figure number in Volume 2, and the page number in Volume 1 in which the river is mentioned. Some more complex rivers have parts without vegetation records omitted from the Maps. Omissions are usually indicated, and their size can be found from O.S. Maps.

The species lists are subject to some reservations, which are explained in Chapter One. The most important of these is that Mentha aquatica, Mimulus sp., Myosotis sp., Rorippa amphibia and Veronica sp. were under-recorded before mid-1971.

Sites on the Maps marked with asterisks are places on tributaries too small to be shown on the 1:250,000 O.S. maps.

In the list of Contents, a stream marked as 'Eden' is entitled R. Eden (England and Scotland) or A (for Afon) Eden (Wales). If the correct name is for example, Alconbury Brook, Burn of Lyth, Pow Water, these are indicated. On the Maps all titles are given (in brief), but in the Index it is more useful to find all the rivers with the same name together, arranged alphabetically by River Division.


Volume 1

Chapter One Introduction

Chapter Two Soft limestone streams

Chapter Three Soft sandstone streams

Chapter Four Clay streams

Chapter Five Soft limestone-clay and alluvium-clay streams, etc.

Chapter Six Hard sandstone streams

Chapter Seven Hard limestone streams

Chapter Eight Coal measures and miscellaneous hard rock streams

Chapter Nine Resistant rock streams




Volume 2



2.x. Soft Limestone Streams
: Itchen, Darent, Avon, Meon, Test, Pang, Colne (Slough), Kennet, Glen and Gwash, Frome, Hull.

3.x. Soft Sandstone Streams:
Blyth, Meese, Idle, Strine, Stour (Severn), Bollin and Dean, Leen, Alt, Lymington, Worfe, Perry, Tern and Roden, Penk, Loddon, Wey, Rother, Waveney.

4.x. Clay Streams:
Chelmer, Tame, Avon, Soar, Stour, Trent (upper), Ray (Oxford), Medway, Beult and Teise, Eden, Blithe (northern), Til, Alconbury Brook, Cole (Swindon), Ray (Swindon), Mar Dyke, Ouse, Adur, Cuckmere, Salwharpe, Weaver, Colne, Leadon, Yeo (Yeovil), Axe (Axminster), Isle, Otter, Culm, Clyst.

5.x. Limestone-clay and miscellaneous soft rock streams:
Stour, Avon, Witham, Till, Barlings Eau and Slea, Bain, Great Stour, Nene, Willow Brk, Ise, Harpers Brk, Cam. upper, Lee, Welland, Ivel, Tove, Ouzel, Great Ouse, Little Ouse, Lark, Windrush, Thames, upper, Glyme, Ock, Ancholme, Lud and Waithe Beck, Steeping, Great Eau, Axe, Brue.

6.x. Hard sandstone streams:
Tone, Eden, Leven, Lunan W, Bervie W, Piltanton Bn, Tyne, Leith, W of, Almond, Esk, Lyth, B of, Wick, Thurso, Forth, Lugg, Teme, Leader and Gala W, North Esk, Eden, Earn.

7.x. Hard limestone streams:
Wye, Tyne, Irthing, Lyne, Esk, Ribble, Dove, Skerne, Derwent, North Tyne, Liddell W and Est (lower), Ure, Swale, Derwent.

8.x. Coal measures and miscellaneous hard rock streams:
Glaze, Douglas, Irwell, Bradshaw Brk, Tame, Afon-Llwyd, Ebbw, Rhymney, Taff, Don, Aire, Avon, Lydney, Churnet, Ellen, Wampool, Waver, Endrick, Blyth.

9.x. Resistant rock streams:
Hayle, Fowey, Dart, Severn (upper), Teifi, Teign, Clwyd, Torridge, Tamar, Ayr, Exe, Nidd, Neath, Nairn, Oykel, Halladale, Helmsdale, Lochy, Duffon, Lune, Ythan, Ugie, Vyrnwy, Bladnoch, Nith, Dee, Don, Dee, Devon and Black Devon, Ewe, Bran, Tresillian, Wye, Usk, Spey, Tweed, Clyde, Derwent, Wyre.

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