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13 November 2014
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The River Itchen

I spent a day with George Mann, who studied and recorded a stretch of the River Itchen in Hampshire every day for a year.

Roger Finn and the River Itchen

George's year was spent filming and observing the plant and wildlife as it gradually changes with the seasons. He's learnt how to get close to the creatures that live along the river bank and has captured hundreds of stunning images.

George Mann

George Mann

For thirty years George worked for IBM. He gave it up to start a publishing business, helping seventy people produce their own books.

One of those books was the autobiography of the well known Itchen river keeper, Ron Holloway.

Ron introduced George to the stretch of the Itchen he managed - three quarters of a mile of stunning beauty between Easton and Martyr Worthy.

When Ron retired, George developed a friendship with the owner of that stretch of the Itchen and won permission to visit regularly.

The Itchen

The Itchen

He decided to make a record of all that happened on the river over the course of a year.

Armed with a variety of cameras and video recorders, George visited every day come rain or shine, spending four or five hours at a time simply watching and recording.

He learnt that the Itchen is a very thoroughly managed piece of nature. He recorded the various techniques the river keepers use to keep it flowing in its prescribed channels. With an underwater camera, he filmed the precious trout spawning and fighting. He became increasingly aware of the complicated interaction between the plants, the birds and the insects.



On one grim morning the rain was falling like stair rods and George felt like giving his daily visit a miss.

He ventured out anyway and, as he stood by the river dripping and motionless, he saw a large creature come to the surface, peer around and then dive down again - his first otter.

George plans to produce a series of DVDs from the material he gathered over the year. He also has plans for a children's book and for a series of information panels along his stretch of the Itchen.

Roger Finn, May 2009

I'm keen to gather your ideas for future films. Do you know of someone with a passion for the countryside who would make a good subject for a film? Perhaps someone with a particular knowledge of wildlife; a traditional countryside skill; or involved in an unusual project.  Use the form below to get in touch.

Finn's Country

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last updated: 14/05/2009 at 12:18
created: 13/05/2009

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