St Albans walker argues “unsafe River Ver path is reducing water flow to Verulamium Lake”

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden - Credit: Archant

An annoyed walker has implored councillors to cut back undergrowth by an “unsafe” river path.

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden - Credit: Archant

Retired cashier June Chittenden, 78, used to stroll along the passage by the River Ver in St Albans but is now worried about the state of the trail.

She said trees and bushes have narrowed the river and caused the public footpath, owned by Herts county council (HCC), to become muddy and narrow.

June walked from Park Street towards Bricket Wood: “I know people who are nervous about going along there now.

“It’s ruining the river and I am annoyed, why haven’t they cut it back any more? I love trees but you used to be able to go for a walk around that way because of this path, but now you can’t.”

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden - Credit: Archant


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She believes excess foliage is affecting waterflow down stream and so undermining St Albans district council’s (SADC) efforts to clear silt from Verulamium Lake, which is fed by the River Ver.

A lack of free flowing water has been established by SADC as a contributing factor to the lake’s water quality problem, alongside inefficient sluice gates.

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June added: “I have lived here for 11 years and I have never seen it so narrow and so overgrown inside the river itself. It’s such a shame and it’s not doing the river any good.

“It’s just narrowing the river so it’s hardly flowing and no swans are coming around anymore.”

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden

Foliage overgrowing the River Ver along a public footpath. Picture: June Chittenden - Credit: Archant

The Environment Agency, partnered with Affinity Water, HCC’s countryside management services and SADC, are working on a feasibility report about returning the River Ver to its natural state in order to increase waterflow.

It is on track to be released next year, when SADC will consider the options it presents.

A spokesperson from HCC said: “We are sorry to hear that a resident is unhappy with this footpath.

“We would like to reassure all local residents that this route is scheduled to be cleared at least twice every season and we would invite anybody who would like to discuss the condition of this route further to contact our Rights of Way service directly.”

Email the Rights of Way department at row@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call on 01992556187.

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