Wildway Route 24 – Colliers Way …….. Off the Rails is a diary of plants and wildlife seen along Sustrans Colliers Way (Route 24) from January 2017 to date.
It is not intended to be a comprehensive record of the flora and fauna of the environs of the cycle path, which Greener Greenways’ ecologists are planning at a later date, but merely a log of what we and fellow ramblers and birdwatchers see whilst walking a small section of the path.
Wild Waterways is a record of our survey of a stretch of the Somerset River Frome on behalf of the Somerset Otter Group. We are very lucky here in Somerset as the local otters are genetically linked to the native wild otters which survived on Exmoor when most of the otter population was wiped out in the 1990s so they are not descendants of later reintroductions.
The streams which run through the fields alongside and beside the paths on Colliers Way feed into Buckland Brook before the brook joins the Mells River which then flows into the River Frome.
The River Frome is a very beautiful ever changing fast flowing river where it narrows, and ripples and widens as it flows through farming country where cattle stand ankle deep, drinking and flicking flies.
It passes through the ancient wildflower meadow of Rodden Meadow, past the Rodden Meadow Nature Reserve, on into the centre of the town of Frome, riverside walks, a thriving Canoe Club and a skate park.
Once it leaves the town it flows downstream through farmland, past a few villages before reaching Farleigh Hungerford castle where the weir deepens the river, creating the ideal swimming spot at the Wild Swimming Club, the oldest in the country. As it passes Iford Manor it flows over rapids down to the mill above Freshford Mill where it slows before speeding up after the weir, speeds up over more rapids before joining the Bristol Avon.
The River Frome supports kingfishers, herons, little egrets, dippers, cormorants, swans, mallard, coots, mandarin ducks and the occasional canada geese, goosanders and garganey as well as wild brown trout attracting fly fishingmen and chub, roach and dace* which challenge the skills of the coarse fishermen. For details of Membership and Waters see Frome & District Angling Association (fdaa.uk) below. *For a complete list of fish species see “Wild Waterways Species” on main menu.
Iford Manor beside the River Frome