A Clear Water Stream (e-book)
Introduction by John Bailey, coloured frontispiece and other illustrations by Mick Loates, 132 print pages, Henry Williamson Society, 2008; e-book edition 2013
ISBN: 987-1-873507-50-6 (Kindle)
ISBN: 987-1-873507-51-3 (EPUB)
This is a newly illustrated edition of a much-loved classic of country and angling literature first published in 1958. Whether the reader is an angler, naturalist, country lover or simply receptive to Williamson's unparalleled prose, A Clear Water Stream embraces all these passions.
The Williamson family moved to Shallowford on the River Bray in North Devon in 1929. With his typical zest, the author set about revitalising the river, stocking it with both trout and salmon, and building low weirs, thus creating new pools and improving the flow of water.
Mistakes were made, with sleepless nights spent worrying over poachers, predators, and upsetting the natural balance. Williamson's error was to apply a chalk stream ethic to the Bray, an upland, acidic water. His introduction of water-crowfoot, a relatively uncommon plant in the West Country upland streams at that time, was the cause of much consternation among regular and visiting fishermen.
There are tales of entertaining sojourns to the Hebrides, Florida and Canada, and joyous moments with his children, but throughout, the thread - which is the stream - enchants us to the finale.
Henry Williamson's impassioned observations were later to become the genesis for his classic work Salar the Salmon.
A Clear Water Stream is a delightful tale, interspersed with the author's deepest emotions. Henry Williamson's message, nearly eighty years later, stands as a prophetic work of genius. The River Bray today runs clear, vibrant and pure. Perhaps aided by the author's intervention, crowfoot remains but growth has stabilised. Salmon and sea trout still ascend to the foot of Exmoor and the diminutive but beautiful wild brown trout continue to dimple the river's surface.
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