Page 1


Ingatestone & Fryerning Angling Club – AGM presentation by Robert W Fletcher on Wednesday 13 March 2013. (All photographs and documents the author's unless stated).

Slide 2

OS maps showing the location of River Wid at Buttsbury and Margaretting.

Slide 3

Cottage by the Wid at Lawness, Billericay in February 2013.

Slide 4

Wardropers and the beginning of IFAC stretch of the Wid with Billericay in the distance in February 2013.

Slide 5

Buckwyns Chase bridge and downstream (early 1990s).

Slide 6

Buckwyns Chase bridge, upstream and downstream in February 2013.

Slide 7

IFAC members explore the new stretch of the Wid at Buckwyns in the early 1990s with President Trevor Cracknell from Elmbrook Farm, Buttsbury. John Norris, farming the land owned by Lord Petre, had granted us access theoretically right up to Lawness but it was agreed to keep our boundary on the Brentwood Borough Council bank up to Wardropers farm. Having lost the east bank upstream of the Wash after the Remus Horse Sanctuary moved in to Little Farm, acquiring this additional stretch was somewhat fortunate.

Slide 8

River Wid down from Little Farm January 1980 and Tim Spouge with a fine Roach in an EABC match near where the Stock Brook meets the Wid (early 1990s). Our original Wid stretch encompassed Trevor Cracknell’s land from Elmbrook Farm to the Wash and beyond to the Buckwyns boundary, all on the east bank. The club often used the old farmyard at Little Farm for parking in matches. RWF once met Lord (Joseph) Petre on his way up to the farm and had to explain his reason for venturing up there! RWF was also once caught there nearly with his over-trousers down after one match when Phyllis and Brenda Cracknell turned up in a car to see how we had got on.

Slide 9

Specimen Roach from the Wid above the Wash, taken on the now “Remus” bank. The best Roach I ever saw caught was by F Nicoll at the Treestump swim at Margaretting in c1981 which must have pushed 2lbs.

Slide 10

Geoff Green trots down to the Wash on the Remus Horse Sanctuary side of the Wid in the early 1990s and the same spot in 2013.

Slide 11

Ingatestone Boys’ own Club Angling Section taking part in Shell Better Britain clean up of the Wid at Buttsbury in the 1990s with Liz Bottomley watching, who was then Chairman of Brentwood Borough Council. We collected some dozen black bags of various types of litter that day. (Photographs taken by a Brentwood BC official).

Slide 12

EA River Wid GDC works carried out at Buttsbury in the Autumn of 2012. (See Matt Butcher’s blog “Tales from the Essex riverbank” at (Courtesy EA).

Slide 13

The new Wash banking in October 2012 and a stranded car there in February 2013.

Slide 14

R W Fletcher is interviewed and photographed regarding the Wid Barrier Scheme in January 2013. (Brentwood Gazette, Wednesday 9 January 2013).

Slide 15

John Heath’s fine bag at the Wash is weighed in by Nigel Peters (early 1990s) and Brian Clarke with a nice Wid Chub at the same spot. The last time RWF spoke to BC was in Ingatestone Market Place in 2003 after he had moved to France where he assured RWF that we would find WMDs in Iraq.

Slide 16

A fine brace of Chub and a Roach from the Elmbrook Farm field section in the 1990s. One of the Saturday afternoon sessions RWF spent there with B Clarke which included a memorable occasion when a Chub took Brian up the pipe at the Wash but wasn’t netted!

Slide 17

A very nice Dace taken on a cheap telescopic rod set in the 1990s and James Lodge at an Elmbrook evening in the early 1990s with the sun going down over Kitchen Wood.

Slide 18

Two views of Buttsbury Church in the distance from the Elmbrook farm area (1990s and February 2013).

Slide 19

A poem to Summer 1969 (and Brenda Cracknell) at Elmbrook Farm, Buttsbury.

Slide 20

The new “Elmbrook Farm� and the improved bend by the road there in January 2013.

Slide 21

A nice little Chub from the Elmbrook bend (the “Bill Windmill� swim) in October 2012 and the road at Elmbrook flooding in the 1990s. Bill used to park his car in the small field gate by the road here and wade across to fish. I did not take a photograph of the old Elmbrook Farm, which must have been one of the old Petre Estate farmhouses, built to a set design, like Westlands in Padhams Green.

Slide 22

Kevin Carter in the Church Hill swim before the new bridge was built and Glen Smith holding his net full on the scales. An EABC match in the 1990s. I joined the club in 1978 and believe that IFAC acquired the permission to fish from the Elmbrook Farm swim to the Sewage Works boundary (west/east bank) shortly after then thanks to Lord Petre. For EABC matches this gave us some 50 swims, which when we fished here at the end of October in the early 1990s, would almost all be fishable. Climate change since then curtailed many swims with weed and reed growth but the EA work in 2012 has righted some of this, at least from the Wash downstream.

Slide 23

New footbridge at Church Hill, Buttsbury under construction in the 1990s and Terry Roberts with a nice fish at the site in an IFAC match in January 2013.

Slide 24

New bridge view in October 2012 showing some of the EA improvements to trees and vegetation and Terry Roberts’ net in January 2013.

Slide 25

The river downstream of the Church Hill footbridge in October 2012 and a beautiful goldfish caught by RWF at the bend swim down from Buttsbury Church in the 1990s, during a severe thunderstorm one summer evening. Fishing here near the gas pipeline post in the late Summer of 1968, having dozed off, I was awakened by a flying group of Heinkel 111s and Messerschmitt 109s and thought for a moment I had been transported, Dr Who style, back to 1940. However, it was just planes borrowed from the Spanish Air Force for the filming of The Battle of Britain , some scenes of which had been shot at Duxford, Debden and North Weald airfields. A nice film noticeable for some good music by Ron Goodwin and William

Walton and a glimpse of Susannah York in suspenders and stockings.

Slide 26

Essex Countryside magazine article on Buttsbury village from April 1963. There was a water mill by the Ingatestone to Stock humpbacked bridge. An old road went from Burnthouse Lane, Mountnessing to White Tyrells via Bacons, Tilehurst and Church Hill, Buttsbury, coming down to approximately where the “Aquarium” swim is, so the present day footbridge is probably on the site of what is thought to be an old Roman Road. (Taken from The Best of Essex Countryside, compiled by E V Scott , County Guide Publications, Letchworth 1976).

Slide 27

Winter 1982 in the Wid valley with cornices on the banks and ice in the margins. This is near the concrete footbridge from Ingatestone Hall to Buttsbury Church near the spot where the Hey Brook (or River Hey) joins the Wid. In the 1980s severe flooding here washed the wooden footbridge on the path to Church Hill clean away some way down-stream where it was lodged under the “Gas Bridge” and had to be dragged back in place by tractors. This winter weather was not quite 1963 but much more severe than more recent cold

spells. In the winter of 1963 I remember walking along the river here on the ice from Stock Lane bridge, so bad was the frost, when we had been released from junior school in Fryerning Lane for weeks up to Easter due to frozen heating pipes and outdoor toilets. Such does our folk-memory decline.

Slide 28

Some nice Roach from the Wid (early 1980s). The whole section of the river from Elmbrook to the Sewage Works was dredged and trees removed in the late 1960s in a response to flooding on the surrounding roads.

Slide 29

RWF fishing in the “Mike Malyon� swim at Buttsbury (just past the gas bridge) with wonderful autumnal light and Colin Dover with a fine Perch from the same swim in an IBOC AS match in the 1990s.

Slide 30

IBOC members Brian O Halloran and Mark Darling fishing an EABC match in the early 1990s at Buttsbury in the last few swims before the Sewage Works boundary.

Slide 31

IBOC AS outing to Buttsbury in the early 1990s in the IFPC Minibus with Geoff Green assisting (T Fletcher, G Smith, K Carter, C Dover, A Moore and James Lodge) and back at Pemberton Hall in Ingatestone in a later match where C Dover the vouchers, G Smith has the trophies and T Fletcher looks on.

Slide 32

EABC Angling Championships presentation at Pemberton Hall in Ingatestone with the prizes and trophies awarded by Martin Solder, EABC Secretary (now EBGC) and Trevor Cracknell of Elmbrook Farm, IFAC President.

Slide 33

The Wid valley from Buttsbury Church (Summer in the early 1990s and January 2013). In the 2013 photograph Harespring Wood, Mountnessing crouches on the horizon.

Slide 34

Edward Thomas poem mentioning Margaretting Tye (1916).

Slide 35

New bridleway bridge at the Wid, Margaretting down from the church leading to Swan Lane, Margaretting Tye via Fristling Hall. This replaced an old arched bridge which was somewhat controversially demolished in the 1980s when it was considered unsafe, and is the start of the IFAC stretch. To the left is the “Beach� swim. Beyond looms Pound Wood, bluebell covered in the Spring. IFAC started fishing here in 1980.

Slide 36

The “Beach� in February 2013 and the site of an otter sighting here by RWF in summer 2009.

Slide 37

IFAC sign erected by RWF still on an old oak at Margaretting in 2009.

Slide 38

Nice trot down to a bend at Margaretting (February 2013).

Slide 39

Two fine swims above the Tractor Bridge (February 2013). These bank side willows were planted in the 1980s to bind together the banks but they now need some trimming if we are to avoid channel blockages.

Slide 40

Coming dusk at Margaretting in the late 1990s and a nice Chub from around the same time.

Slide 41

Snow-edged fields with Pound Wood beyond in the 1980s and a doublerainbow there in the late 1990s. Just before taking the photograph I had watched a dog try in vain to catch a Hare in the field as it tore across the stubble.

Slide 42

Bend down to the Tractor Bridge in September 1980 and a nice Perch taken there that day, soon after IFAC were given permission to fish here by Mr Currie.

Slide 43

Trot down to the Tractor Bridge in 1980 and again in February 2013. I had my best ever day on the Wid to date here on New Years’ Day 1991 with a net of over 18lbs of Chub, Dace and Roach. I had to stop for a coffee from a friend at Tyelands at lunchtime as I was too tired to keep going, so fast and furious were the bites.

Slide 44

View upstream and downstream of the Tractor Bridge in February 2013. Somewhat overgrown and once considered a “banned” swim in matches for its “easiness”, just like Church Hill at Buttsbury!

Slide 45

Downstream of the Tractor Bridge towards where the Margaretting Brook emerges (February 2013). Often a good trotting swim when water levels are high.

Slide 46

RWF with a nice chub at the “Tree Stump” swim in the 1990s. The oak tree stump, once a magnet for large Chub and Roach, has now gone.

Slide 47

Two Chub from the “Tree Stump” swim.

Slide 48

James Lodge with a nice Roach at the “Tree Stump” in the late 1980s and fishing himself below here in the mid1990s with the Gang Bridge beyond.

Slide 49

The “Tree Stump” swim in February 2013.

Slide 50

Downstream of the Gang Bridge in the Spring 1990s and February 2013.

Slide 51

St Peter’s Way over the Gang Bridge near Brook Farm, Margaretting in February 2013.

Slide 52

Snowy scenes at Margaretting in the early 1980s. Snow-melt in the bad winters early in the decade completely changed some of these spots.

Slide 53

Two swims below the Gang Bridge (February 2013). I spent the Royal Wedding Day in 1981 fishing the second swim here with Dave Walker, but didn’t do very well. Strangely, on the day of the Royal Wedding in 2011 I was at my aunt and uncles’ house in Margaretting Tye clearing their garden whilst they were away in Spain. So, this area has Royal/Republican memories for me.

Slide 54

Looking across the field to where the barrier is proposed to go and another nice Chubby swim.

Slide 55

All that remains of the fabled “Fairy Dell” swim, where R Henbury took at Rainbow Trout in a club match.

Slide 56

Below the “Fairy Dell” (February 2013). Quite a few wildfowl were disturbed here whilst RWF was exploring the stretch.

Slide 57

Mr Currie’s irrigation pipes left alongside the river towards the Piggeries. No real need for these after April 2012. I have never seen so many rotten potatoes around this area in a field, a sign of the excessive rainfall in 2012.

Slide 58

The site of the barrier looking towards the railway, with the Piggeries to the right and the end of the IFAC stretch going on towards Hope’s Bridge and Whitesbridge.

Slide 59

The rafts of rubbish and plastics along this section in February 2013 were terrible. Where does it all come from? The EA will hopefully do some work here when the Barrier work starts but how can we stop our rivers being used as rubbish tips?

Slide 60

Two trains on the GA line from the river.

Slide 61

Looking back over the Wid valley towards Ingatestone from the bridleway at Fristling Hall (1990s).

Slide 62

The Wid valley at Margaretting from the top of the far field beyond Pound Wood looking towards the railway line and Parsonage Lane (late1990s).

Slide 63

EA Wid Barrier Scheme map showing possible extent of flooding if the barrier is closed at its highest level (June 2012). (Courtesy EA)

Slide 64

Chelmsford City Council Wid Barrier planning meeting notice (18 February 2013).

Slide 65

Chelmsford City Council Wid Barrier planning approval (27 February 2013).

Slide 66

OS maps of Buttsbury and Margaretting showing IFAC fishing banks: Buttsbury – West bank from Wardropers to the Wash, East bank to Elmbrook and West bank from Elmbrook to the Sewage Farm boundary. Margaretting – West bank from “The Beach” to Tractor Bridge, East bank to the Gang Bridge and West bank to the Piggeries boundary.

Slide 67

IFAC Presentation evening at IFCA High Street Ingatestone in the early 1990s, with a photographic display which included details of the then recent dredging of The Hyde Lake. So we return for 2013.

Slide 68

IFAC Officers/Committee members at an AGM in the late 1950s/early 1960s dressed for the event and not a journey along the banks of the Wid. Probably in The Crown Inn. From the left: V Willis, C Crow, R Newstead, F Beard and J Oddy. The name of the Pike is unknown. Looks like the Willis or Emily Knight Trophy behind them. (Courtesy Daisy Willis)

Slide 69

RWF’s parents in the Wid valley on the concrete roads down Stock Lane in 1951. Over the trees beyond them is Stock village.