Article for Hughenden News Spring Edition

The Stream, Water Table and the Sewers

The winterbourne stream flows again this year in the village, and that makes it two years in a row, in itself a bit of a rarity. Although the stream dried up in the upper reaches last summer, it kept flowing all the way through from Church Farm. Since January, the source of the stream has gradually worked its way back up the Valley and through the village. At the time of writing, the stream is flowing from the ditch opposite the Harrow and down through the village. Strangely, it does not appear in the Hopkins Farm field alongside Valley Road, but re-emerges in Boss Lane.

The downside of having the stream up is that the water table is up in the Valley also. This applies particularly along Valley Road towards the pumping station. Here we know that the sewer main running to High Wycombe is currently full. In a wet winter such as this latest one, ground water and surface water infiltrate the system and overload it. The net result is the risk of sewage escapes, an unpleasant experience. Householders here are watching the situation closely and checking levels in their inspection pits. Thames Water is fully alerted to this situation and if it worsens we may need to call in temporary overpumping systems to help ease the pressure in the sewer main.

Trees Road & Trees Avenue

During the winter it was decided to try and build a small team to perform some self-help on the drainage grills at the foot of Trees Road. Both Trees Ave and Trees Road are un-made up and prone to clogging the drains and allowing water to sweep down onto Valley Road causing a few issues. A small team already existed cleaning the grills in Trees Ave.

The net result was a WhatsApp group of about 15 residents from both roads to perform periodic cleaning. The group go together on 24th January – a day of heavy snow you might recall – for the first clean. The job itself is not trivial, especially this first one, as the job had not been done on Trees Road for years. The team was led by David Mynors who showed the rest how to dismantle the grids and clear the drainage conduits. This was a great result, after two hours of hard work, with everyone wishing that a visit to the Harrow was possible.

Since then, TfB have visited after much badgering to perform a jetting & drain cleaning operation. They are needed to clear out the drains and pipework adjacent to the drainage grills. All we have to do now is persuade TfB that the rest of the road drains in Hughenden Valley need cleaning.


A special meeting of HVDIG took place at the end of January via Zoom and HVDIG is now part of the residents association and led by Peter Cannon, the Chairman. We are now called the HVRA Drainage Improvement Group.

As a first step, the HVDIG website has been altered to include the name changes and now incorporates the HVRA website banner/heading that emphasises the new identity. Further changes will take place over time, such as constitution and banking.

New Name for HVDIG

Special Meeting

The planned DIG Special Meeting took place at the end of January via Zoom and we are now a part of the Hughenden Residents Association and officially known as the HVRA Drainage Improvement Group.  

Peter Cannon was elected Chairman and the meeting discussed matters such as future finances, the constitution, financing and the website. In addition we discussed how the DIG will proceed in future. Changes will take place slowly, starting with the website.

The meeting minutes have been placed on the Docs page.

The Stream, Water Table and the Sewers

The winterbourne stream has kept flowing right the way through this last year. Although it dried up during the summer in the upper reaches, it kept flowing from Church Farm down through the park. And since January, the wet winter has resulted in the stream working its way back up through into Hughenden Valley and along the backs of the houses. I can’t remember seeing the stream running two years in a row in the village before.

This has meant, of course, that the water table is high and is continuing to rise at present. Inevitably, this means that the infiltration of ground water into the sewage system will present a risk of sewage escapes if the rains continue. Neighbours at the south end of the village are monitoring levels in their inspection pits – sewage unable to drain into the main sewer is a sure sign of the sewer being under pressure. Thames Water have been alerted to this.

Trees Rd & Trees Ave

In the last blog I described the drainage issues in these two roads and that we were trying to build a small team of volunteers to periodically clear the drainage grids. The response was far greater than expected and there exists now a WhatsApp group of about 15 neighbours ready to turn out from time to time.

On 24th January – the day of some heavy snow in our area, the team assembled for the first clean operation. The job itself is not trivial and the guys were shown by David Mynors from Trees Ave how to dismantle the grids and clear the drainage conduits. All in all, a two hour job in very cold and snowy conditions, but a great result in the end. See the pic.

It is hoped that by doing this work we will build a better relationship with TfB and the councils; hopefully by showing that we can contribute towards looking after the village, they will respond more favourably towards us when we call for help.