The River Chess
On Wednesday 6th May, the year 10 students travelled to Amersham Field Studies Centre and to various sites to investigate erosion and deposition in the River Chess. Their task was to see how the river changes as it flows downstream. The trip was part of their GCSE Geography controlled assessment task and involved collecting data at three different sites; near the beginning of the river at Chesham Moor, the middle in Sarratt Mill and near the end of the river at Scotsbridge Mill in Rickmansworth.
We first had a briefing at the main site to find out some more information about the different areas the river sites were in, about the river itself and to also refresh our memories on some key terminology. We found out that the River Chess is a chalk stream that rises in Chesham in Buckinghamshire and runs through the Chess Valley to Rickmansworth, where it then becomes a tributary of the Colne. The Chess Valley is part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, of which chalk streams are a characteristic feature.
After a quick snack, we collected our clipboards, stuck on some wellies and travelled to the first site at Chesham Moor. As luck would have it, it started pouring with rain, but the students still waded through the river to take their measurements using a variety of techniques and apparatus including: a measuring tape for the wetted perimeter and width; a metre stick to measure the depth; and a stopwatch, hyrdoprop and a cork for the speed of flow. They also had to draw field sketches of each site and note down any factors that could have an effect on their findings, for example how rural or urban the area was, any levees present, or if there were lots of plants in and around the river.
Chesham Moor was an urban area with a road and many houses very close to the river. In contrast, the second site at Sarratt Mill was very rural, with no houses around that could be seen.
At the last site, in Scotsbridge Mill, the students were able to look at erosion and deposition at a meander and contrast inner and outer bends. The sun finally started to shine through, and after all the data was collected and a quick mini race through the river, the students finally headed back home.