Who we are
The Winniford River Action Group (WRAG) was formed by members of the Chideock community in December 2022, with the aim of learning more about the water quality of the Winniford, identifying problems and pointing the way towards a river improvement plan.
While Chideock Parish Council (CPC) helped to set up the Group, WRAG is independent of and separate from CPC.
• To monitor water quality regularly by testing for a range of pollutants at various points along the river, and establishing the levels of these pollutants
• To monitor riverfly, which are pollution sensitive and are good indicators of water health
• To establish where pollution comes from (e.g. run-off from the land, leaking septic tanks, sewage spills)
• To raise awareness in the local community about the health of the river
• To share this information with organisations who are in a position to improve the situation, e.g. Wessex Water, the Environment Agency, our Member of Parliament.
To work with the following so that shared information can be used to improve the health of the Winniford:
• Other groups that have similar aims to WRAG
• Other bodies such as Wessex Water, Golden Cap Holiday Park at Seatown, Dorset AONB and Chideock Parish Council
There has been much in the media recently about the poor state of our rivers and the frequent release of effluent into them. After disturbing results were found by Dorset Council on the quality of the water in the lagoon at Seatown, WRAG was formed to find out for ourselves the state of our river. The group meets when necessary and liaises with other similar groups on the Char, the Brit, the Asker, the Simene and the Lim.
We have identified four testing sites along the River Winniford (starting in North Chideock and ending near the lagoon on Seatown beach) where we intend to test once a month, under the auspices of the Westcountry Rivers Trust Citizen Science Investigations. We will build a database of information on the health of the river as well as the wildlife seen and any problem plant species that may be present (e.g. Japanese Knotweed). We will be testing regularly for dissolved solids, turbidity (cloudiness) and phosphates and will carry out other tests as found to be necessary.
We have had very useful contact with Wessex Water who are aware of our testing regime, and who have already taken us on a tour of the sewage treatment plant at Chideock. We have received a grant towards our testing kits from Chideock Parish Council for which we are very grateful.