River Test Access

Inland paddling
Gordon A
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River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

While paddling in Southampton today, I managed bonus access discussion with a pleasant gentleman, who could have been a bailiff or similar. We (my colleague) thought when we went under the 3 bridges (Redbridge) as long as we kept to the main channel (tidal) we were OK. The chap we spoke to was adamant there is no access upstream of the bridges, To be fair it was a relatively pleasant discussion, I even apologised if I was in the wrong, was I? As we only planned to paddle to the small bridge the chap was standing on, turning round and paddling back wasn't a problem. Is this a nature reserve with restricted access, or , was the pleasant chap wrong and normal tidal rules apply?

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morsey
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Re: River Test Access

Post by morsey »

He is making it up. there is access on all rivers in the country.

Gordon A
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

Morsey
Normally I'm with you 100%, it didn't change our paddle, however I like to know if I'm legal or whether there is a restriction on a nature reserve, any locals care to enlighten me? I could ask the police though they have a habit of surrendering at first contact with the enemy on matters such as these.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by twopigs »

In no way is this authoritative ...... http://www.southernlife.org.uk/waterways1.htm

But there are references to the Itchen and Avon being navigated!
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Maybe you are being misled by the term ‘navigation’. The word ‘navi’ is Latin for ship and making rivers ‘navigable’ was necessary for them to allow passage of loaded barges which required a reasonably deep draught. To facilitate this a system of locks was introduced as is still evidenced on rivers like the Thames and Trent and in some cases on parts of rivers linking canals like the Wey and Kennet. This does not mean to say that most other rivers were not ‘navigated’ or ‘used for transport,’ throughout history, by smaller craft with shallower draughts although maybe only when water levels were sufficient.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by twopigs »

Adrian Cooper wrote: This does not mean to say that most other rivers were not ‘navigated’ or ‘used for transport,’ throughout history, by smaller craft with shallower draughts although maybe only when water levels were sufficient.
Like the Wye .....
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Adrian Cooper
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Adrian Cooper »

An excellent example and maybe like the Test.

It really brings it home to you when you visit France. High up on the Dordogne and the Lot, you will see examples of the gabarres, flat bottomed boats used to carry produce down-river. These were not insubstantial craft but flat bottomed and relied on the current for propulsion (if that's the right word). They were guided down the river during the winter when the levels were high enough to clear the rocks to take goods to places like Bordeaux and Bergerac. The boats were then sold for fire-wood and the boatmen (gabarriers) walked home over the course of not a few of days. You just cannot believe that the rivers in the UK were not used in exactly the same manner.

brevan
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Re: River Test Access

Post by brevan »

The Test is tidal upstream of Redbridge for a mile or two. It stops being tidal just North of where the B+Q is at Nursling. So in that sense it is 'Navigable' to that point. I have paddled up to there from Eling before.
Lat (WGS84) N50:56:02 (50.933848) Long (WGS84) W1:28:55 (-1.481970)

Daniel Defoe makes reference to the Test (and Itchen) and the fact they were 'both navigable for some length up into the country, and particularly useful for the bringing down of timber out of one of the best wooded counties in Britain'

If you went too far up you'd be into the non-tidal part of the test and you are into chalk stream fly fishing territory. Fishing rights can cost up to £200 per metre of bank, and a days fishing can cost the same sum.

The non tidal river also has lots of low bridges, too low to get craft under.

The area North of the road (A35) is a nature reserve (Lower Test Marshes) at this time of the year there may be nesting birds in the reeds. Much of the East bank of the main channel is grazed land with public access (footpaths) in areas. Take advice from the EA or Hampshire Wildlife Trust (See http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/pages/lower-test.html)

Brevan

Gordon A
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

Thanks for that brevan, I'm not sympathetic to fishermen, who want exclusive access, however if there is a valid reason to control access (nesting birds, spawning beds, etc) I'm happy to oblige. I will contact the EA and Wildlife trust to obtain further info.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

E-Mail sent to Wildlife Trust asking for clarification of current position.

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morsey
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Re: River Test Access

Post by morsey »

All rivers are breeding grounds, for birds, fish, creepy crawlies, bank mammals, etc. No reason to stop normal passage along a water course in human power craft.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by DaveBland »

Gordon A wrote:Thanks for that brevan, I'm not sympathetic to fishermen, who want exclusive access, however if there is a valid reason to control access (nesting birds, spawning beds, etc) I'm happy to oblige. I will contact the EA and Wildlife trust to obtain further info.
I think you need to be clear between right to navigate and personal choice to navigate. I personally agree, that I wouldn't want to upset any wildlife – nesting birds etc, and would maybe stay away from a river if I thought I may disturb them – however I suspect the calm passing of a canoe/kayak would create less disturbance than sitting on the bank fishing for hours.

And of course it's acknowledged by the EA that the passing of a canoe does not disturb spawning beds.
dave

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morsey
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Re: River Test Access

Post by morsey »

Before taking the word of EA, NE, and others 'as gospel' maybe worth reading this to get a heads up on latest 'Conservationalism' (urban dictionary version!) gaff! http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/natural-england


I absolutely do not condone any action that endangers wildlife or the countryside, but I do very much feel that reasonable passage can be made, even in delicate ecological sites, by canoe/kayaks in their normal use. By normal use I mean floating gently and quietly on clear water. This has nothing to do with access rights per say, that is a given, this is about responsible use of rivers. If you were to take your canoe, walk through bushes and set out on a small lake lined with reeds in the middle of a sanctuary at breeding time, you'd be acting irresponsibly. If you access a river at an open bank, pass quietly along the main water area and leave the sheltered areas and reeds alone, you'd be most likely causing no considerable disturbance.

Keith Day
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Keith Day »

English Nature and the BCU agree that there is unlikely to be any significant impact on or lasting disturbance to wildlife and the water environment from the passage of canoes.

This is from a joint memorandum of understanding in 2003.

John Saunders
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Re: River Test Access

Post by John Saunders »

Gordon A wrote:E-Mail sent to Wildlife Trust asking for clarification of current position.
It'll be interesting to hear what response the Hants & IOW Wildlife Trust make about Test; they take the following position on the Itchen:
Can I boat on the Itchen Navigation? [...]the Wildlife Trust supports the current view that the bed and banks of all rivers and canals are privately owned (riparian ownership), and that there is only a public right of access on canals and rivers where one has been created (in Common Law or by legislation). This right does not apply to the Itchen Navigation since the Acts of Parliament that allowed its creation related to commercial usage. Taken together, this information means that boating is not permitted on any other part of the Itchen Navigation unless prior permission is granted by the landowner. In addition, the Navigation is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Where there is no statutory right of access, owners or occupiers of SSSIs who wish to permit boating would need the consent of Natural England to do so.
However, they don't have much credibility. The H&IOWWT's own leaflet on The Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project shows a picture of people bathing in and boating on the waterway near Winchester in 1875.

Gordon A
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

John

I've had an initial response suggesting its not a trust issue, & they (Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust) do not control navigation, only manage the land around as a nature reserve. I'm hoping for a further update, though nothing yet.

Cheers Gordon

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Re: River Test Access

Post by nigelhatton »

Wednesday june 26th I set out from Hamble point car park in my kayak to paddle the full length of Southampton water and some of the test til i ran out of water. I got past the three bridges and into the marsh area when I saw a sign at the entrance to a narrow creek. it said "No Access beyond this point" I thought it meant don't go into the creek so I did not. Further up there is another sirn saying "No boats or canoe" next to another small inlet so I did not go there and carried on quietly.

Then I saw a footbridge with hardly enough water for me to float and decided that would be my turning point and I felt I had paddled enough water to say I had completed my trip. There was also a man on the bridge who said that he owned the lanf and I was trespassing and I should fuck off and tell any other canoeists to stay away. During the discussion he was constantly abusive using all sorts of foul offensive words. I said this is my first time here and the signs further down are ambiguous and should be more clear. He told me to F Off again. I don't take too kindly to being spoke down too and told him that if I got out of this kayak and confronted him on the bridge he would not be so confident with his effing and general offensive behavior.

Well he's alive, I'm not in prison and don't have murder to add to my portfolio but I wonder if he really does have any authority?

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Re: River Test Access

Post by chriscw »

Clearly he does in his own mind. Many people confuse their view of how the world should be with how the world actually is. Your unpleasant person on a bridge (was going to write gentleman but clearly he does not qualify) is one of those because he owns the land he thinks he owns the river....
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Gordon A
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

Nigel

I've bumped my request to Hampshire Wildlife Trust, I'd suggest reporting to the police, I'm fairly sure, and will try to clarify, that kayaking up to the bridge is legal. Also my guess is that again fishermen want exclusive rights to control navigation. By reporting abusive behavior to the police, we can build up a history of behaviour towards canoeists. I refuse to be intimidated off the water, or indeed go cap in hand to both landowners and fishermen for permission to carry out (what I believe to be) a legal activity. Others in my area prefer to capitulate at the first fence.

Cheers

P.S. hope you still had a good day paddling

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Chas C
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Chas C »

I had the help of Kevin East from BCU (CE) on issues with the Avon in Christchurch where kayakers were being threatened for paddling the river where it passed through an SSSI. Natural England (I think) who have responsibility for SSSI's confirmed to Kevin that paddling on a river passing through or over an SSSI (as long as you do not land, scrape bottom or walk on the SSSI) does not damage or encroach on the SSSI itself.

Be aware that fisherman are not restricted by the SSSI rules and can trample where ever they like and cause whatever damage they like as they are excluded (unlike the rest of us).

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Re: River Test Access

Post by Keith Day »

Chas C wrote:... restricted by the SSSI rules.
Natural England have confirmed they have no powers to restrict or regulate navigation. See Natural England informal guidance on canoeing and SSSI rivers with navigation rights
The fact that 3rd parties do not need our consent to use a canoe on a river .....
There are no rules .... only the law, before which all (anglers and canoeists) are equal. Paddle considerately and avoid wilful damage.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by Hengle »

If I read Nigel's post correctly above, I do not think that you were paddling up the main river but rather up one of the splits as it passes thkrough the flood plain. the main river course as I understand it flows under the 3 bridges at Redbridge ane then meanders to the left and over the 2 weirs at the Salmon Leap off Testwood lane.
The Right hand route running alongside the railway and Test Lane I think may be part of the remains of the Andover or salisbury canals http://www.whitenap.plus.com/local/andover_ind.htm but I cant be sure
Hengle

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Re: River Test Access

Post by nigelhatton »

I have submitted the report form someone sent me.

Incident was at the 1st footbridge after the the three lower down bridge, rail, road and old stone bridge that was being used by lift netters.
I am not happy to get involved with agro from other people because I seriously am one of those people that can do serious harm to agressive and offensive or violent people. I was paddling a point 65 XP18 sea kayak and I could not really have gone much further up the river due to the possibility of scratching the hull. However, it has left a bad taste in my mind to be told to F off and be accused of netting. Now I remember he talked of some canoeist putting a clip onto youtube and how clever they were to break the law.
I may have gone further up if there had been more water but the tides at Southampton Water are a bit strange to me and didn't do what I thought they would.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by Keith Day »

The incident is now recorded on the Access Map. At that point the Test is clearly tidal so there can be no doubt about the public right of navigation.

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Re: River Test Access

Post by nigelhatton »

I realise now that I have been totally fooled by that prick into believing I had done something wrong, he lied to me. What does anyone else do when some tosser starts shouting and effing this and effing that and we can't paddle on the rivers they fish. Whilst I am generally a sea paddler I sometimes go into tidal rivers and I'd like to know what other kayakers/canoeist do when they are breaking no laws, bylaws, rules, regulations etc,etc by being there?

I've been conned, again!

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Chas C
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Chas C »

Just ignore them and take a photo / video if you can.

Gordon A
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Re: River Test Access

Post by Gordon A »

Hi
I had a response from Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust, however as the owner of the land's agent is also the Trust's landlord, they would prefer I do not publish their E - mail. Fine, they confirm my thought's that it is only theirs and the landlords belief they have the right to control navigation. So make up your own mind, though it may be prudent to take a camera/go-pro to report any unjustified agro. Stick to the tidal channel with sufficient water to float your boat, & do not disturb nesting birds, the fish, leave them for the fishing fraternity.
cheers Gordon

P.S. The agents controling the land, Longdown property management

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Re: River Test Access

Post by Keith Day »

Gordon A wrote:Hi
I had a response from Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust, however as the owner of the land's agent is also the Trust's landlord, they would prefer I do not publish their E - mail.
That doesn't sound like openness and transparancy! The Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust are a regulated charity required to operate for the public benefit - not secret dealings designed to protect their relationships with commercial organisations. I think you should publish it so that the public can see whether we are satisfied that they are acting for the public benefit.
Stick to the tidal channel ....
There can be no doubt that there is a public right of navigation on tidal water. But if you also believe there is a right on non-tidal water which is physically navigable without damage or harm to others or the environment, at some point you will need to assert that right.

The notion that we have no rights of navigation on the Test just doesn't bear serious examination. In 1882, James E. Thorold Rogers, (Professor of Political Economy in the University of Oxford, Tooie Professor of Economic Science and Statistics Kings College London) said
The Thames, the Severn. the Ouse on which Bristol was built, the Cambridgeshire Ouse, the Humber, the Itchin, the Test, the Stour, the Wye, and many other rivers were navigable and commonly navigated

(see A History of Agriculture and Prices in England. Volume I. page 663.)

brevan
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Re: River Test Access

Post by brevan »

John Saunders wrote:
Gordon A wrote:E-Mail sent to Wildlife Trust asking for clarification of current position.
It'll be interesting to hear what response the Hants & IOW Wildlife Trust make about Test; they take the following position on the Itchen:
Can I boat on the Itchen Navigation? [...]the Wildlife Trust supports the current view that the bed and banks of all rivers and canals are privately owned (riparian ownership), and that there is only a public right of access on canals and rivers where one has been created (in Common Law or by legislation). This right does not apply to the Itchen Navigation since the Acts of Parliament that allowed its creation related to commercial usage. Taken together, this information means that boating is not permitted on any other part of the Itchen Navigation unless prior permission is granted by the landowner. In addition, the Navigation is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Where there is no statutory right of access, owners or occupiers of SSSIs who wish to permit boating would need the consent of Natural England to do so.
However, they don't have much credibility. The H&IOWWT's own leaflet on The Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project shows a picture of people bathing in and boating on the waterway near Winchester in 1875.
They need to have the support of landowners for their conservation work so they tend to ignore the fact six acts of parliament relating to the navigation make it a statutory navigation and the fact that this creates a public right to use the waterway (subject to tolls for any cargo) as ruled at the court of appealin the Yorkshire Derwent trust case in 1992.
You will be told otherwise if you are seen on the water though.
Brevan

wightcanadian
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Re: River Test Access

Post by wightcanadian »

Paddling today on the tidal section of the Test above the bridges beautiful short paddles here ... was asked to leave by rude and abusive game wardens. The area is marked on the OS map as below the tidal limit, yet they continue to claim paddlers have no access.

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