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 a total of four 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 step-by-step details of how the project progressed, click here, 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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2 Responses to “Pic of the day: Hackbridge on the Wandle”

  1. Chris says:

    Im hoping to take my son to try and catch trout on the Wandle. We have our rod licences but not sure where we can practically fish. Saw plenty in the stretch along Ravensbury Park but seems unclear if it’s ok to fish there or not.
    Please advise
    Many thanks

    • Theo says:

      Chris, yes, you should find trout all the way from Ravensbury Park upstream. Best advice is to take a pair of polaroids, move very slowly, and try to spot fish in the clear water – fishing at random won’t necessarily produce results! Very best of luck and do let us know how you get on…

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