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Author Topic: The River Dour  (Read 52423 times)

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delboy

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Re: The River Dour
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 13:25:49 »
Hi Sue2010, If you mean facing down river on the bridge, the bank nearest Morrissons, that is the overflow channel from the mill. Halfway  along Barton path, bottom of Limes Road, there is (was) a sluice gate that could be opened to allow a flow of water to run under part of Balfour Rd, the new flats in Granville St.and emerging there. This flow,apart from relieving the water level in the mill pond( see previous pics,  was used in the silo tower to operate various bits of the mill when reqd. delboy

Sue2010

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 18:40:53 »
Where the River Dour crosses Bridge St in Dover there appears to be a channel coming in from the right bank on the downstream side. Does anyone know where this channel is from or its history. please.

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2010, 20:39:20 »
Many thanks delboy.That is indeed our boating pool.The buildings in the background were gone of course.I take it that was Chitty's mill and silo?We also managed to float in the shallow bit by the Barton Path.Just shows how little depth of water a flat bottom vessel needs.

delboy

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2010, 17:55:26 »
Right delboy that explains where it goes to.If i remember rightly it had a little sluice gate at the Barton Path end.That must have been the mill the Germans demolished.We got hold of a fibreglass van rooftop and this was able to carry three of us up and down this section of river.The bit nearest to where that mill used to be was considerably deeper(rear of Granville Street).

Here you are towerwill, one of your boating pool and one of Barton path, delboy




Offline TowerWill

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2010, 19:02:08 »
Right delboy that explains where it goes to.If i remember rightly it had a little sluice gate at the Barton Path end.That must have been the mill the Germans demolished.We got hold of a fibreglass van rooftop and this was able to carry three of us up and down this section of river.The bit nearest to where that mill used to be was considerably deeper(rear of Granville Street).

delboy

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2010, 09:49:00 »
Towerwill, the overflow was for Chittys mill , the water flow was restricted by them to provide power when it was used as a flour mill. I used to help the maintenance gang at DEW clean the river up to the overflow. It runs under part of Balfour, Beaconsfield and under the new flats in Granville st. rejoining the main river at Bridge st. It provided water to the silo in Granville st as well as taking the excess water away when the river flow was restricted. delboy

Offline TowerWill

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Re: Thr River Dour
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2010, 08:36:21 »
A very interesting article Islesy.I haven't been on foot in the upper areas of the river for a while but have briefly seen bits from train or bus.
The river by the Barton Path seems to be attracting more wildlife these days.I went to Castlemount school annex in 1961/2 and that little stream next to it is still running i see.I suppose this is just an overflow channel of some sort which must leave the main river on the other side of Cherrytree somewhere.It's a bit overgrown these days though.A bit further down the path i noticed work on a culvert that leaves the river on the opposite side to the footpath.A brick lined gulley leading to it is silted up now but was clear in the early 1960's.
The stretch between Ladywell and Pencester Road also attracts a surprising amount of wildlife.We've seen eels,brown trout,moorhen,ducks and a heron.The strong flow of the river here is a danger to moorhen chicks and we saw one swept away near the college.The current is easing off a bit now though.The Nailbourne in the Elham Valley has been running this year but the flow was also lessening last time we took the bus that way.

Offline Islesy

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The River Dour
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 12:16:46 »
Rising at Watersend, near Temple Ewell, the Dour is a chalk river that is regarded by the Environment Agency as the best Brown Trout habitat in Kent. Centuries of industrialisation along its eight kilometre course have taken their toll on the river, and now nature needs a helping hand to preserve the Dour.



It is due to the Dour that Dover owes its very existence; the valley that it cut through the chalk cliffs providing a grateful haven to the first settlers, and by the Roman period the wide estuary of the river made an ideal harbour.


The industrial use of the Dour can be traced back to AD 762, when the first written records of a corn mill at Buckland were made, the first of any mill in Britain. Over the years, the use of the river as a source of industrial power served thirteen watermills - eight being corn mills, the others manufacturing paper, as well as iron foundries, saw mills and a tannery.

This industrialisation led to the Dour being dredged, widened, cleared of plant life and diverted, giving the river channel along its length an unnatural, straightened form with artificial man made banks.

Where a river flows in a widened channel, as the Dour does in many places, silt builds up as the flow of water is too slow to keep the particles and dead vegetation suspended, so they deposit on the river bed. This will gradually build up, covering the gravel on the river bottom which is needed by the fish to spawn in.

Siltation also means that insects such as Mayflies, Damselflies and Caddis Flies upon which the trout feed cannot survive, as they too rely on the cracks in between the gravels and stones to live.

Rotting vegetation also reduces the quality of the water, producing toxic gases that rob the oxygen from the water. This then leaves a habitat that is only suitable for the most pollutant tolerant species like Blood Worms and Chironomids.

The biodiversity of the river is also hampered by the  introduction of non-native plant and animal species such as Himalayan Balsam and North American Signal Crayfish. Himalayan Balsam grows aggressively, and can very soon overwhelm the river bank, blocking sunlight and preventing native species from taking hold, whilst the introduction of the North American Crayfish also brought crayfish plague to our river systems. Our native species, the White Clawed Crayfish, found itself under attack from both a disease it had no immunity to, and from a larger, more aggressive predator.

The River Dour is now being managed pro-actively by the Environment Agency, which recognises that chalk streams are a priority habitat for protection and conservation. I joined Tom Reid, Biodiversity Technical Specialist and his colleagues in torrential rain and thunderstorms at Temple Ewell as they were in the process of reintroducing plants such as Water Mint, Marsh Marigolds and Water Figwort to the Dour.

Temple Ewell Parish Council has worked closely with the Agency  to restore the river; gravels have been introduced and silt has been dug from the bed, then shaped to create meanders and bends that mimic the natural course of the river.

Local residents are in full support, Mr Hailwood's property faces on to the river and he considers the work to be, 'absolutely fantastic, in the last 25 years I have seen the river go from bland stream, to disappearing completely, to the wonderful sight that we have today.'

The urban nature of the Dour as it flows through Dover presents many challenges, and the Environment Agency will be working with the River Dour Steering Group to maintain and protect the river.The Group meets twice a year and provides a forum for those interested in the Dour. Members include the Environment Agency, the White Cliffs Countryside Project (responsible for litter clearance working parties), Dover District and Dover Town Councils, River and Temple Ewell Parish Councils, voluntary groups such as the Dover Society and River Conservation Society, Dover Harbour Board and Veolia Water.

The Group receives presentations of the work, plans and ideas of the members with the intention that local people are made aware of what is, and what will happen, to  maintain and improve the Dour, and at the same time local concerns can be raised. Currently the main concern is the silting up of the old mill ponds and the risk they pose of flooding.  

Those who come to the meetings are only too aware of the special nature of Dour and of how much of an asset it is for the town, albeit one that has only achieved a fraction of its potential.

Copyright Paul Isles/Dover Life Magazine
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