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River Itchen
River Itchen Ovington.jpg
The Itchen near Avington,
Origin Cheriton, Hampshire.
Mouth Southampton Water
Basin countries United Kingdom (England)
Length 45 km (28 mi)
Basin area 400 km2 (154 sq mi)

The River Itchen is a river in Hampshire, England. It flows from mid-Hampshire to join with Southampton Water in the city of Southampton. The river has a total length of 28 miles (45 km), and is noted as one of England's - if not one of the World's - premier chalk streams for fly fishing, especially using dry fly or nymphing techniques. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is noted for its high quality habitats, supporting a range of protected species including the threatened water vole,[1], otter, brook lamprey[2] and white-clawed crayfish.

The river is managed by the Environment Agency, whilst the Port of Southampton is the navigation authority for the tidal section below Swaythling.

During Roman Britain, the river may have been associated with the Celtic goddess Ancasta.

Contents

Course

'The Weirs' on the Itchen in Winchester.
The tidal river - the Itchen Bridge can be seen in the distance.

The source of the Itchen is situated just south of the village of Cheriton. Initially the river flows north, through the villages of Cheriton and Tichborne, before joining up with its tributaries the River Alre and the Candover Brook, just below the town of New Alresford. The river then flows west down the upper Itchen Valley passing the villages of Avington, Itchen Stoke, Itchen Abbas, Martyr Worthy, Easton, and Abbots Worthy. Before entering the historic city of Winchester it crosses Winnall Moors.[3]

The river flows in several different channels through the city of Winchester, some of which come close enough to Winchester Cathedral to have caused serious problems to the building's foundations in earlier years. The main channel flows through Winchester City Mill and to the east of the city's Roman walls, along a promenaded reach known as 'The Weirs'.

The river then heads south, through a series of water meadows, passing the Hospital of St Cross, the villages of Twyford and Shawford, between the town of Eastleigh and the village of Bishopstoke and through Itchen Valley Country Park before reaching the northern suburbs of Southampton at Mansbridge. Between Winchester and Mansbridge, sections of the river were once deepened or widened as part of the long disused Itchen Navigation, and the former towpath forms part of the Itchen Way.[4]

Monks Brook flows into the Itchen at Swaythling, and the river then passes under Woodmill Bridge and becomes tidal. Four further bridges cross the river before its confluence with the River Test estuary in Southampton Water:

Between the latter 2 bridges, the river passes St Mary's Stadium, the home of Southampton F.C.

See also

References

  1. ^ . Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (2008)
  2. ^ Environment Agency (2006). Fact file on the River Itchen. Retrieved February 7, 2006.
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey (2004). OS Explorer Map 132 - Winchester, New Alresford & East Meon. ISBN 0-319-23601-3.
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey (2004). OS Explorer Map OL22 - New Forest. ISBN 0-319-23616-1.
  5. ^ Holt, John; Anne Cole (February 1992). A bend in the River. Southampton: Bitterne Local History Society.  

External links

Coordinates: 50°54′19″N 1°23′08″W / 50.9052°N 1.38565°W / 50.9052; -1.38565

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