Posts Tagged ‘Taming the Flood’

Engineered or natural solutions to flood alleviation?

August 9, 2015

We recently organised a well received event to celebrate the revised edition of Jeremy Purseglove’s seminal work “Taming the Flood”.  Other speakers included Dr Paul C Buckland and Prof. Ian D Rotherham.

2015 TtF front cover

There was much discussion around engineering vs sustainable and more environmentally benign and sustainable options which did not rely upon regular and increasingly eye watering amounts of public funding as options and approaches to flood allieviation.

One such example was that of the Environment Agency managed realignment at Alkborough Flats funded through the Water Framework Directive.  This project, which involved some 400ha resulted  in the largest realignment in the UK and the second largest in Europe.

The image below shows part of the Flats today, the lagoon fringed by phragmites hosted good numbers of Avocets, 6 Spoonbills and a Little Egret and not forgetting the delightful but elusive Bearded Tits amongst a more extensive species list mid week.

Looking north across Alkborough Flats showing phragmites reedbeds with Six Penny Wood wind turbines in the distance.

Looking north across Alkborough Flats showing phragmites reedbeds with Six Penny Wood wind turbines in the distance.


Slumbering Spoonbills.  The Little Egret lurked out of lens at the interface of the reeds along with another unidentified 'white job' probably another LE but not confirmed!

Slumbering Spoonbills. The Little Egret lurked out of lens at the interface of the reeds along with another unidentified ‘white job’ probably another LE but not confirmed!

The two images (taken on seperate days) show the extent of the tidal lagoons which along with those across the River Trent at Blacktoft Sands provide a fantastic habitat for a range of breeding species as well as a refuelling station for species on migration.

Squadron of five Spoonbills return.

Squadron of five Spoonbills return.

For other superb images of the Alkborough Spoonbills see Simon & Karen’s blog.

Taming the Flood?

July 12, 2015

A reminder that readers can hear the author’s presentation of “The Flood Untamed” on 31 July at Crowle Community Hall. 

Tickets a nominal £5 to defray refreshments and light buffet lunch.  Booking essential and is by contacting

2015 TtF front cover

Back in print, the classic tale of man’s attempts to master nature and the consequences.  This new volume brings an update to the 1988 edition and includes the 2014 floods.

There is reference to our beloved moors but sadly the term ‘waste’ is retained, a derogatory term inflicted by the cartographers of yesteryear and in an age where perhaps the word did not have quite the same negative image.   Frustratingly it is repeated on the current OS maps despite reference to the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve.  Why couldn’t Natural England make representation to the OS to have the derogatory term removed and consigned to the Cassini Historical Series of Maps?  It might have been a persuasive case that statute at long last recognises the value of the peatlands as carbon sinks and wildlife sites?

The line up of speakers also includes Dr Paul Buckland on recent work

Floodplains and the fossil record: What should we be aiming for?

And introducing Prof. Ian D Rotherham of Sheffield Hallam University

Here comes the flood. Surprised?  How history should inform future water management.

Hoverflies & floods ….

May 17, 2015

Readers may have heard of Pan Species Listing, it’s basically ‘twitching’ across disciplines.  That’s an incredibly simplistic analogy because there is much to recommend it if it is undertaken within the guidelines promoted through the Pan Species Listing website.

We try to encourage readers and the public in general to take a closer look at the wildlife around them and as well as appreciating the amazing diversity available on our own doorsteps to learn to identify it.  Occasionally we offer Wildlife Training Workshops with specialist tutors to introduce people to new disciplines, especially entomology or the more difficult botanical disciplines (grasses, sedges & rushes), bryology, lichens or mycology.

So it is pleasing to periodically report interesting finds.  Phil Lee the voluntary LWT – Isle of Axholme Group Wildlife Records Officer has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time ….

Sericomyia lappona Crowle Moors pl 8.5.15

Friday 8 May saw him ‘sauntering’ along the boundary lane of Crowle Moor north where he came across a couple of hoverflies new to him.  Reference to Britain’s Hoverflies An introduction to the hoverflies of Britain by Stuart Ball and Roger Morris led Phil to conclude that the species above was Sericomya lappona and this was subsequently confirmed by John Flynn through the lincs_ento_group.  S.lappona has previously been recorded from Crowle Moors in 1988, by Bill Hoff and Roger Key but no other Lincolnshire records apparently.  The other, below, is a Pipiza but can not not be determined to species level even with the excellent image taken by Phil.

Pipiza sp. Crowle Moors pl 8.5.15

The moral of the story as ever, is to be open minded and take an interest in the common and then when something a little different appears it is likely to register as having potential for an interesting record.  There is plenty of help out there avialable from like-minded people and a veritable plethora of societies and organisations focusing on wildlife and natural history.
Those records are needed, they evidence species movement (increase or reduction in range) and the health of sites.  It would seem reasonable to assume that the various statutory agencies and authorities undertake survey and monitoring but increasingly it seems to fall to the amateur naturalists to gather raw data.  The theory then would be that the Public Bodies use the data as evidence in defence of sites under threat of development?  Theories and reality, sadly all too often at the opposite ends of a spectrum?
Another issue which warrants investigation is perhaps the future of Local Records Centres?  That for Doncaster is based within DMBC, yet the vast majority of data held there has been provided by amateur naturalists.  That for northern Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire in general is held and managed by the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership, so arms -length from statute and retaining a level of independence?  The issue as ever, information is power but information is also valuable creating something of a dilemma when it comes to sustainability?
Also around in moderate numbers are Yellow Wagtails as they seek out food for their brood of youngsters.  This stunning image showing a parent bird with a substantive meal – is it a noctuid larva?  Thanks to Martin Warne for sharing this behavioural image.
Yellow Wagtail Thorne Moor 27042015
For readers seeking their annual fix of our iconic crepuscular gem the Nighjar, they arrived on the same day 13 May on both moors, although perhaps the one logged at 04:15am on Thorne Moors was the first recorded for the year?
Advance notification:

Friday 31 July 2015

‘The Flood Untamed.’

Jeremy Purseglove revisits the story of his classic book which is being re-issued in June.

150324 TtF front cover 2

Anyone interested in attending this presentation (which will also feature two other talks) please contact for more details.

The Birds of Thorne Moors: An Annotated Checklist

May 9, 2015

We are pleased to announce that we have just taken delivery of a batch of reprints of the popular Technical Report No.: 19 The Birds of Thorne Moors: An Annotated Checklist by Bryan Wainwright. 

Scan BoTM front

To obtain a copy, please send a cheque for either £4.70 (first class postage) or £4.50 (second class postage) to T&HMC Forum (Publications), P O Box 879, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5WU. 

If you are thinking of attending the talk “Taming of the Flood” by Jeremy Purseglove on Friday 31 July 2015 then why not collect a copy from us there?  For more details of this talk contact

Advance notification: Taming the Flood, three decades & what have we learnt?

March 24, 2015

The Executive are delighted to provide advance notification of

a presentation and talk by Jeremy Purseglove, author of 

150324 TtF front cover 2

Ahead of publication of the revised edition scheduled for June 2015.

We recognise that it is short notice …. but it is planned for mid April, a weekday and at a venue yet to be confirmed but it will be local to the Humberhead Levels.    If any reader is interested then they are invited to contact us via with an expression of interest and when details are finalised they will be advised.

Jeremy last visited us in September 2005 when we held a Stephen Warburton Memorial Lecture in Crowle and this talk, some ten years later is ahead of publication of an updated version of Taming the Flood promises to be everybit as interesting and informative.

The programme will also include other updates on recent work in the Humberhead Levels.

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