Tour given by Roger Harrison and accompanied by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Team. Tickets (limited to 25 people) are £35 per person, to include a picnic supper and refreshments
The mile-long stretch of the river Mr Harrison calls his own (although he sees himself as more of a steward) is more than merely stunning. The Itchen is the country's best surviving example of a chalk stream, one of just 200 in the world that flow only in southern England and parts of northern France. Rain water soaks through chalk, becoming filtered yet infused with nutrients as it springs at a steady, naturally cooled temperature to create trickles that become streams. The water here is so rich and pure that, allowed to flourish, chalk streams support a dizzying array of wildlife. "Look, do you see him?" Harrison asks, stopping on the path beside the river. Sheltering from the stream behind a clump of water starwort, which has is swept back into a subaquatic smudge of green weed, a wild brown trout forages for nymphs as they hatch from the gravelly river bed. Given the chance, they will then rise up to spread and dry their wings, reborn as flies. While we watch, a grayling, part of the salmon family, darts through the water as a gadwall, a type of small, dabbling duck, drifts on the glassy surface.
Please join us for a exclusive insight into this fascinating stretch of English waterway.