charles rangeley-wilson – writing about fishing, travel, rivers, conservation

Caught by the River – review of Silt Road

John Andrews has written a really great review of Silt Road for Caught by the River. “Silt Road is not a book centred solely around the post-millennial concept of ‘nature’ or the Victorian construct of ‘natural history’, it is a book about country and all the elements that issue from it: blood and fire, earth and water, lies and cruelty, magic and dreams.” You can read it here.

2 Responses to “Caught by the River – review of Silt Road”

  1. Tim Goode


    Got Silt Road this morning . I lived withing hearing and sight of the river between 1952 and just short of 2000 . My father lived beside it from 1925 to 2003 . He is still alive and can remember the burning down of the two mills at Loudwater .

    Silt Road is a cracking piece of work and a real tribute to the river . I still fish the river not just at West Wycombe and some of the fishing especially through Wooburn Green and Cores End can be fantastic .Fish populations are really thriving . To see it just as a fish holding stream is too limited however and it really is a part of the history of the area.

    A couple of points , did you spend any time on the Hughenden Valley part of the river . There is as I am sure you know another source up there at a place called Spring Rising where sometimes even today the water pours out of the ground . This part of the river comes and goes badly now but as aschoolboy in Wycombe I fished it a lot , and it was packed with wild fish . My chum Birdseye had the biggest brownie we had at 4 -13 from the river in Hughenden Park . I do not think that there were any stocked fish in that part of the river at this time ,1963 .
    Secondly , it is a wonderful river to fish in places especially when close to the lowest bit –I thought of offering a day there in the WTT auction , you know the sort of thing ‘ day on secret stream an hour from London .’ Etc etc . I hope you did get to fish it during your research .

    Now I will read it properly . Congratulations Sir , the robert McFarlane of rivers !,

  2. rangeley

    Tim, I did walk and write about the Hughenden, though I edited those passages from the final draft because they took the momentum out of the story. Maybe I’ll post them one day as a stand alone. It is fascinating to hear all these recollections of the river. There are some amazing accounts of gigantic trout in old editions of The Fishing Gazette. Thurlow, who is mentioned in my book as a mill owner, wrote about a day when he caught two of about six or seven pounds. I do hope you enjoy the book and its chimerical trout, especially Chapter 11. Thanks again for the note. Charles.

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