Alan began his talk by explaining that the River Avon rises close to the Village of Naseby and flows through the west midlands to Tewkesbury where it meets the River Severn. Along the way it passes through some of this country's finest countryside and the place where we all live.
Navigation was originally authorised on the river by Charles I 1635 when one William Sandys was given powers to improve the river and by 1642 it was possible to navigate to within four miles of Warwick. Today the river is only navigable between Tewkesbury and Alveston just to the north of Stratford. The level of the river is controlled by weirs that are passed by 17 locks between Tewkesbury and Stratford. In the winter sluice gates are often raised to hold water back to prevent the flooding of Tewkesbury of lowered to prevent flooding in Pershore and Evesham.
As a traveller on the river it is the peace and tranquillity that is particularly attractive along with the places to visit and the wildlife. It is such a privilege to be able to get close to nesting swans for example but also the large colonies of Canada Geese and Greylags. There are also escaped species such as Egyptian Geese, Tufted Ducks and Mandarin Ducks. Of the local wildlife we have seen Grass snakes swimming across the river, the very rare water vole and the vicious predator the mink. On the upper Avon especially it is possible to see fleeting signs of the beautiful kingfisher that often shoots ahead of the boat from one perch to the next.
The River Avon is a natural barrier across our region of Worcestershire, it is also a wonderful natural habitat. Although the river was once a major transport route through this region it is now only navigated by pleasure craft and it is a great pleasure and privilege to be able to travel this path.