Fringe Box



Riff Raff Diary – March 2018

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

Riverbank tales from the local St Catherine’s lengthsman and weir keeper

by Robert Craig

Now at the end of February, the sun is shining and there is snow on the ground. But it has been a month of weir keeping for me due to the wet weather earlier on – some twenty-five weir adjustments made in total.

At Stonebridge, I have been cutting back some of the overhanging branches and encroaching vegetation. Also tidied up the area by the toilet blocks and repairing some of the boundary fencing.

The replacement Riff Raff weir under construction in 2012

It is good to get these jobs done before the birds start nesting in earnest. A pair of great tits is already showing a lot of interest in the nesting box in my garden.

There are signs of spring now along the river with a sea of crocuses in
Herondels garden just downstream of Ferry Lane and primroses in flower on the Railway Line Walk.

A red kite is now regularly seen near St Catherine’s Lock. The v-shaped tail feathers are a good identifier.

Bird news locally – I am seeing the red kite near St. Catherine’s Lock on a fairly regular basis at the moment. Also, there are snipe and woodcock, and in the wetter areas, there are teal, shovelers and little egret.

Barn owl – photo Malcolm Fincham

Flocks of goldfinches and siskins can be seen in the treetops and perched on the fences and tall grasses are the stonechats. Roundabout dusk you may also be lucky enough to see the barn owl hunting.

Editor’s note: Surrey County Council’s repair of St Catherine’s footbridge has now been completed. See:

Praise For North Downs Way National Trail Manager 

St Catherine’s Footbridge Closed – Complaints Over Inadequate Signage

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