Remembering a Wild Trout Hero…

A commemorative tea party this week at Godington House in Kent remembered Paul Bates who sadly died last autumn.

Paul was an avid, determined and tenacious champion for his river, the Great Stour in Kent. As WTT Conservation Officer, Andy Thomas, often notes Every river and every club could do with a Paul Bates”.

Paul Bates at the end of a rianbow

In 2011, following a WTT Advisory Visit, work started on a reach of the Great Stour near Ashford, under the formidable pairing of Paul and Andy. The river had been hammered by land drainage engineers and had in-filled with reeds, with very little recognisable as chalkstream habitat. In a series of phases and through an extraordinary partnership between Paul’s fishing club, the Godinton Piscators, the local (and excellent) Environment Agency fisheries team, the Godinton House Preservation Trust and WTT, and with additional funding from the Ninevah Trust and SITA Trust, the river began to regain life and function.

Paul’s commemorative party walked the river to see how it’s doing 20 months after the last phase of work – we were greeted at our first stop-off point by a passing trout and, at our last stop, a passing kingfisher. Good news. Even better to see that the river is looking fabulous. Wild trout are being seen and caught in the river; they are now in the caring hands of Clive Pavely and his chums in the Godinton Piscators. Paul must be chuffed to be looking down on his mended river…

The Great Stour in 2012, before plenty of TLC. Note the telegraph pole top right of both shots. 

godinton stour before

Andy Thomas points to a functioning stream in 2015, complete with Ranunculus and wild trout.

godinto stour after