Catchment

We are catchment hosts for the Kennet Catchment Partnership and co-host the South Chilterns Catchment Partnership. In the South Chilterns we have particular responsibility for the Pang.

The Kennet Catchment stretches from the upper reaches of the Winterbournes above Avebury west of Marlborough in Wiltshire, to Reading in Berkshire where the Kennet flows into the Thames.  It includes the rivers Og, Aldbourne, Lambourn, Dun, Shalbourne, Enborne, Holy Brook, Burghclere Brook, Foudry Brook and Clayhill Brook, as well as the small streams which drain into those tributaries.

Mainly rural in character, the catchment is defined by the chalk uplands of the Marlborough and Berkshire Downs to the North and the Hampshire Downs to the south.  Much of the area falls within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Chalkstreams are magical habitats and it is vital that we protect them. 




The three largest tributaries are the Lambourn, Dun and Enborne.  The principal towns are Reading, Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford and Marlborough.
 
There are three Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) wholly or partly in the catchment:

The Kennet and Lambourn Floodplain
 River Lambourn
 Kennet Valley Alderwoods
 
There are two river Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the Kennet Catchment:

 The River Lambourn
 The River Kennet from Marlborough to Woolhampton

The River Pang is adjacent to the Kennet Catchment and ARK took n on the role of catchment host for this river as part of the South Chilterns Catchment Partnership in 2020.  In our first year we have worked to aseess what opportunities exist and have created a Story Map that you can see here.



Pollution Incident 2013 and it's impact.
In July 2013 Action for the River Kennet's riverfly monitoring volunteers were the first to discover a catastrophic pesticide pollution event in the River Kennet just downstream from Marlborough.

 The incident made the national news and caused the river to be closed to protect public heath.  The pesticide was identified as Chlorpyrifos and our volunteers established that it had killed riverfly life in the river for 15km.  

Riverfly monitoring

Since then extensive research has been carried out in to the impact of the pollution on the health of the river. A summary produced in autumn 2015 by Clare Gray from Imperial College, London can be found here.  

An article on the role of citizen science, with specific reference to the River Kennet pollution incident is here.  

If you would like to find out more about our volunteer riverfly monitors click here