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Avon Roach Project - 25/05/21

Author: Trevor Harrop and Budgie Price

Publisher: Privately Published

Date: 2020

Rating; *****

I should point out from the start that I have known the authors for a while having been in the Roach Club for many years and have watched as this project progressed.

The book fills in all the missing blanks starting with their concern at the dwindling numbers of roach in the once famous Hampshire Avon. This was borne out by an EA report showing that the numbers were below the critical mass to be sustainable in many areas.

Unlike many, they didn’t cry into their beer but decided that something must be done. They joined in with other groups who focused on the river and heard the same old gripes, the Environment Agency being one, with others each blaming the other in a very unproductive way.

Trevor and ‘Budgie’ adopted a different approach – namely talking to and working with anyone who cared and could help. The big difference between them and many other such projects is that they dedicated their lives saving the roach, from hours spent in meeting, to restructuring Trevor’s garden (if you could call it that when full of tanks), to creating stew ponds. It is a fantastic achievement and is truly inspiring.

This book documents the journey and is well written with Trevor’s self-effacing humour shining through. He was a publisher in a previous life and so self-publishing here has not fallen into any of the pitfalls experienced by others. In fact, it is an excellent book. I kept the it on my bedside table with the intention of reading one or two chapters at a time, but found I couldn’t put it down I found it so fascinating.

It details just how fortunate the River Avon and the roach are to have such committed people looking after their present and their future.  I hear of other similar projects being discussed but without characters such as Trevor and ‘Budgie’ who don’t just voice their concerns but actually get on with the work, the future habitat would be bleak.  Their commitment and hard work demonstrates clearly that it is possible to make changes for the better.

The Avon Roach Project is truly amazing and vividly described in a great book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in fish, the river and its natural history.