Pic of the day: Hackbridge on the Wandle

As the Covid-19 lockdown tentatively lifts across different regions of the UK, #FishWhereYouLive seems to be the best first option for many flyfishers…

… including those who live within striking distance of the Wandle in south London. One of these is Tom Clinton, retail manager at Farlows fishing shop on Pall Mall, and he’s been inspiring us all with photos like this.

Life moves fast, so it’s easy to forget quite how horribly degraded this stretch of river at Hackbridge really was – until summer 2014, when the South East Rivers Trust (previously the Wandle Trust) got stuck into what was then their biggest river restoration project yet.

This spectacular work involved breaking out two weirs and completely recreating a meandering river channel through what had been an impounded lagoon filled with deeply nasty thigh-deep road runoff (you could wade in, with care, but there was always the nagging risk you’d have swim out again, without your waders!)

For more photos and details of how the project progressed, click here and here.

Now, less than 6 years later, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a completely natural chalkstream somewhere expensive in Hampshire, Berkshire or Wiltshire, instead of deep south London – where anyone is free to fish for beautiful wild trout for no more than the cost of a train fare and an EA rod licence.

(But please #KeepEmWet, don’t squeeze them, and release them carefully!)

Thanks for the photo, Tom, and of course for the memories of putting these wiggles back…

(Photo: Tom Clinton)

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