Riverbank Wilderness Wm


This week we have travelled a path rarely trod.

A trek up the far reaches of the Amazon perhaps? I wouldn’t have been in the least surprised to see monkeys swinging from the trees.

No. But it is another land that time forgot: the wilderness at the bottom of the garden.Β With the weather forecasters predicting torrential rain, it was time to have a look at the state of the river.


Getting there is a journey in itself.

Using a strimmer, Mike has carved out a way through and fashioned a path using well trodden earth from The Heap.


River 004 Wm


The river is so low now, little more than a trickle in places.

But the storms and high rainfall of last winter and spring left a staggering amount of debris in their wake.


River debris 002 Wm


River debris 001 Wm


We’ve made good progress in clearing a lot of it away.


Erosion defences 001 Wm


In very wet weather the river can rise two or even three feet higher than it is today, running through in a torrent.

The force of the water on this bend has caused a partial collapse of the bank. With the river doubling back on itself at this point, if the erosion continues we could soon be the proud possessors of an island! So what to do. Perceived wisdom currently is to hammer in a line of stakes, attach some sturdy wire mesh and back fill with stones and earth. In the manner of a gabion.

For the moment at least, the water level is lower than the top of my wellies..

But will we make it before we need waders?


2017-12-01T17:29:53+00:00July 27th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. haggiz July 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    Welcome back! Glad you made it out of the wilderness back to blogland! Julie x

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Rain stopped play!

  2. Denise July 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    King Ptolemy the First for island kingdomship? I think a crown would suit him well.

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Would an island ever be enough?

  3. countrysidetales July 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Am liking the new banner Jess πŸ™‚

    Water erosion is a problem, not one we suffer from thank goodness, but there are some good examples of how to manage it on our local rivers- presumably your local wildlife trust could advise? It all looks wonderfully lush there anyhoo.

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Even lusher if we get more rain.
      Glad you like the new header. I thought I was done with Powerpoint…

  4. Denise July 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Canoe? Ahoy Captain!

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      That will need more rain too!

  5. wherefivevalleysmeet July 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    There was I thinking that you had gone off on an interesting trip and all the time you were lurking at the bottom of your garden. However, what a bottom of garden it is – there is not need to go away when you have your own verdant wilderness, river, but hopefully not an island yet.
    Gabions sound a good choice.

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      We’re looking forward to a proper break.. hopefully soon!

      • wherefivevalleysmeet July 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

        What a fantastic header – how you did it is a complete mystery to me – it is lovely.

        • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm - Reply

          Thanks Rosemary. It came as an upgrade to the current WordPress theme, but was an extremely frustrating thing to do, not least because I couldn’t find anything in the way of instructions!

  6. justjilluk July 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    I do love your blog. One of the things that comes through is the responsibility you have taken on. I know in some cases its self preservation! But what you do is thought out and not damaging to your environs. Altho it would appear Ptolemy thinks he rules ok!

    • Jessica July 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      Ptolemy is the boss around here, no doubt about that.
      But it is their home too. Whatever we do, it should be with the wildlife front of mind.

  7. Wendy July 28, 2013 at 12:27 am - Reply

    My goodness – what an area to tackle! Although a river can rise up from a trickle to a torrent very quickly, it is wonderful to have one at the bottom of your garden and I am envious. I look forward to seeing what you do.

    • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Thankfully the river is well down from the garden and the house, because the water can go through at quite a pace!

  8. Jacqueline July 28, 2013 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Dear Jessica,
    By the time you read my comment you will probably be under a foot of water if you had the rain that we have had over the past 48 hours !!!! { I hope not though !! }
    Your garden is so beautiful ….. it has so many different ‘rooms’ to it.
    ….. and, what with renovating the house you must be kept busy from dawn ’till dusk and beyond. XXXX

    • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

      For once, you are getting more rain than us..
      ‘Rooms’ is a good way of describing it. And many different conditions, so I can grow a wide variety of plants. Down by the river (one day) there will be a bog garden!

  9. snowbird July 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I must say I really like the idea of having an island. I love your wilderness path and your river….I reamain totally jealous!xxxx

    • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      It would be a very tiny island!

  10. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA July 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    How wonderful to have a woodland with a river at the bottom of it. I am sure in no time you will have a lovely walking path and sttiing area to view the running water. It sounds like you do have several “rooms” to garden and enjoy. What fun!

    • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      At the moment it really is a wilderness. It does need a path, so we have better access than now, but anything else is a very long term project!

  11. Sarah July 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I love the wilderness at the bottom of your garden, it’s magical. We too have so much rain in the last 24 hours, I can’t believe you have managed to escape it so far!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica July 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm - Reply

      Friday night we had a lot of rain, since then it’s just been showers, so we’ve been able to do a bit more… but the river level is rising. Eek!

  12. Dorothy July 29, 2013 at 4:00 am - Reply

    All of that green lushness looks so pleasing to my eyes here in the land of drought! Best of luck in your endeavors! I am looking forward to following your adventures on your blog.

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 11:38 am - Reply

      I often long for your climate.. we’ve had such appalling summer weather in recent years. But it comes with its own problems I know!

  13. Pauline July 29, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    A stream at the bottom of the garden, that’s romantic! Hope it hasn’t grown into a fast flowing river with all the rain we had over the weekend ! It will be interesting to see how it develops over the next months.

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 11:43 am - Reply

      The river level is rising a bit, but here we’ve still not had that much rain. Could have done with more.. the soil is still solid!

  14. Rosie July 29, 2013 at 10:02 am - Reply

    How amazing to have the river run through the bottom of your garden! Lots of hard work keeping it clear though I expect. I like your new slide-show header it’s great to see Ptolomey again:)

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

      I can hear pheasants around us in the woods, but we haven’t had any garden visitations for a while. I’m sure (I hope) they will be back when food gets more scarce again!

  15. BadPenny July 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    What an amazing place you have. Waders might be a good idea !

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      I checked today, and have five inches of welly to go before the water comes over the top… although it’s fairly academic now because they’ve sprung a leak!

  16. elaine July 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Lovin the new header but where are the lovely rusty ducks? I love your wilderness too – green with envy – don’t try and tame it too much will you.

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      The ducks should still be there – last slide in the sequence.
      I want the riverbank to look natural, but we do need to thin out some of the spindly trees. There are a lot of ferns growing there, some quite big, which I’ll leave ..and plant more English bluebells and wildflowers that can cope with the wet conditions.

  17. Em July 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I like the idea of gabions. Very cool but not as cool as your own island. Not in the Caymans but who’s to know!

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      It will be a sort of tailored gabion… following the line of the bank. All a bit experimental so I hope it works! We’ve had to order far more wire mesh than we need, so the rest can be used to support next year’s peas πŸ™‚

  18. CherryPie July 29, 2013 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    That part of your garden looks quite an adventure!!

    • Jessica July 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      It’s a difficult place to get to at the moment, so it does have a feel of adventure about it!

  19. rachel July 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    It’s summer. Of course you’ll need waders.

    • Jessica July 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm - Reply

      Having seen tomorrow’s forecast I think you’re right!

  20. ournewlifeinthecountry July 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    It all looks amazing, but of course this is a LOT of hard work, you really do need to make sure the river has a clear path, or you could end up with quite a few islands.

    Waders might be a good idea πŸ™‚

    • Jessica July 30, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      It is very hard work Sue, but at least I sleep well these days!

  21. Janet/Plantaliscious August 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Impressive clear-up job, and what a wonderful playground, but what a challenge to manage. I am torn between jealousy at having a river at the bottom of your garden and relief that I don’t have the work!! Think I will just enjoy your stories of the wild watery side of your garden…

    • Jessica August 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      You have the best of both worlds Janet. A glorious view over water and none of the associated work!

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