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The Ingleburn/ Tetbury Avon

The Ingleburn that runs through Tetbury Railway Park is a fascinating subject.

If you look at the history of our area, and especially from the 5th to 11th centuries during Saxon times, Tetbury was mostly within the territory of the Mercian kings but at times was ceded to West Saxony (named Wessex in Victorian times) in the constant wars between those rulers.

The Tetbury Avon, runs on through Estcourt park and Brokenborough to join other tributaries at Malmesbury and feed the Avon that eventually runs through Avon Gorge in Bristol to the sea.

For most of the last 1500 years the Ingleburn, the local name for our stretch, has formed a territorial border: in early times between Mercia and West Saxony and up to very recently, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. The border I believe was moved beyond Long Newnton at the request of its residents.

At the same time this waterway has been a link between Tetbury and Malmesbury, so near but so separate, still towns in dispute when I first came to Tetbury in the early 80s when gangs would come over from Malmesbury to fight with Tetbury youths on Woolsack Day.

It’s source, the Worwell spring, feeds one of the many wells around the town, in a field best known nowadays as where the alpacas graze.

The Ingleburn which rises in the Worwell and runs to Wiltshire Bridge has always been an intermittent stream but recently, because of water extraction for household use, it’s rarely a running stream in the summer. It seems intermittent stream habitats such as our Ingleburn may prove vital to maintaining biodiversity because, according to a recent article in BioScience magazine, “Natural drying–rewetting cycles serve as evolutionary cues that increase biological, physiological, and ecological trait diversity … which may, in turn, enhance the adaptability of communities to future environmental change.”

A few of us from Greening Tetbury are working with Bristol and Avon Rivers Trust, and are hoping with the permission of the Town Council and the Feoffes, to survey what wildlife there is in this important site, how it might be affected by the run off that is now discharged into the Worwell alongside the clear Worwell spring and how it could be managed to secure a sustainable ecosystem for the future.

Hopefully we can help support it as a wildlife habitat and wildlife corridor that provides the access to nature we now know is vital for mental health.

Anne Cox

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