What a difference six months makes. This little bit of chalkstream perfection was not soperfect six months ago when it was completely dried up, but today it is a very different story. This is the Teffont Brook, in the chocolate box Wiltshire village of Teffont Magna where the cottages are thatched, built in the buttermilk coloured Purbeck limestone hewn from the surrounding hills. All along the main street (pretty well the only street) the stream flows in front of the houses, where the doorstep is often a bridge.
The Teff as it is locally known, must be one of the shortest chalkstreams in the world, joining as it does the River Nadder just 1.7 miles from the source which in turn joins the River Avon, the longest of all the chalkstreams. It is a salutary thought for anyone who cares about the precious water of the chalkstreams that in less than 24 hours time, after a journey of just 40 miles this pellucid water, which I’m happy to drink from the stream, will be washed into the English Channel in Christchurch Harbour.
For chalkstreams anoraks like myself the beauty of the Teff comes in many forms. It is what is called in the jargon a ‘perennial stream’ where the water quite literally gushes out of a fissure in the ground about a hundred yards up from where this photo was taken. In a normal rainfall season it will flow continuously year round, but after protracted dry spells (like that of 2013) it will stop for a while to return once a decent amount of rainfall returns. The purity of the water is a sight to behold in itself and better still after months of filtration through the chalk seam beneath the Wiltshire down land it is heaven for the ranunculus weed that thrives in the clear, cold, oxygenated water.
All in all it is a harbinger for a great summer ahead.
PS If you want to see the Teffont Magna location here is the Google map link