Category Archives: DIG

DIG Article for HNews Spring 2023

It had seemed a wet autumn and winter leading up to Christmas, to the extent that the stream had risen in the park. In late January it was rising and flowing from Church Farm and below the pumping station there were the beginnings of the spring rising there in the large field depression.

When the stream is looking like it will run through the village, there is a chance that the sewerage system will become overloaded. So it was around this time that I opened the inspection cover at the front of our property, but am glad to report at this point that the drain was empty. If the sewage system through the valley is running high, the level rises correspondingly in my inspection pit. For us, it’s a sort of early warning system.

Since then, there doesn’t seem to have been any significant rain, which suggests we won’t see the stream rise in the village, nor indeed experience any sewage problems this year. Unless of course, it starts raining in earnest as soon as we go to print.

Drains and Sewers

After pursuing affinity Water relentlessly for the last year or so, I am glad to say that they have finally come back to us and advised that the culverts under the pumping station have been checked. Except that the work was actually carried out during last summer by their contractor, it’s just that Affinity didn’t know. The contractor reported that all blockages were removed, so it does suggest we were right push for this work to be done.

It’s pretty clear that maintenance is a vital part of our everyday lives, although looking after our roads, drains, sewers and other systems seems these days to be run on a crisis basis rather than carried out in a scheduled manner. Whatever the shortcomings of this modus operandi, we do have FixMyStreet and that has been working well for us in recent times.

I happened to be out in Valley Road on a walk recently and spotted Bucks CC engineers clearing the problematic drains at the foot of Trees Road – see the pic.

I reported on the FixMyStreet request  we put in about this in the last issue, so it’s really good to see the system is working. It does make me feel that the council are responding well to requests we put in. So, if you see drain and road issues needing work done, just get online and report it, it’s relatively simple to use. Just go to:

FixMyStreet (buckscc.gov.uk)

Paul Woodford

DIG Article for Winter 2022 HNews

Pumping Station

The pumping station is not the prettiest of buildings, but it’s been a part of the village since the sixties serving an essential function and we must all pass it regularly without giving it a second thought. The building houses a large borehole some 250 feet deep and for many years pumped drinking water from deep in the chalk. It no longer does, but the whine of machinery can still be heard close to the building. It is understood that the pumping equipment serves to pump drinking water from the direction of Prestwood up the hill to Naphill and beyond.

Last winter we reported that Affinity Water had visited to site at the pumping station and had agreed to conduct CCTV checks on the two culverts that run under the site. This is needed to ensure that they are clear and able to carry drainage water from the course of the winterbourne that runs across the road from Buildbase, and also the stream and road drainage water that runs in the ditch along Valley Road.

Unfortunately, little has happened since then. We have recently escalated this matter and a further site visit has been made and action has been promised. It’s not urgent work, but the sort that should be carried out on a routine basis to prevent a sudden crisis happening.

Other Drains and Sewer Items

Trees Road

The bottom of Trees Road continues to provide a headache for the residents of the road as the drainage grids at the bottom of the road block up very quickly following heavy rain. Loose gravel and stones rapidly accumulate at the bottom and make it hazardous for drivers turning off Valley Road into Trees Road.

The DIG have approached Bucks CC via the FixMyStreet website and appealed for help this year with clearing the grids and drains. The problem here, of course, is that Trees Road is unadopted and the two road drains and the grids are not the responsibility of the council. We are glad to report that the council have agreed to do this and say they will attend to this when they are next conducting operations in our area.

It would be great if in the meantime the Trees Road WhatsApp group could continue to clear the gravel and stones at the foot of the road.

The Culvert from the Harrow to Deeters

We had concerns about the course of the winterbourne that runs from the Harrow down to Deeters. As far as we are aware, this section of pipework had not been examined for some years. Following a request to Bucks CC, it has now been checked and is reported to be silt free.

Thames Water DWMP

Thames Water provided an update this summer to their draft Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan. This is a 25 year plan covering a vast area, of which we are a small part. So, while we are not able to report on significant details for the Valley, we are able to say that the following is planned for the Little Marlow area, of which we are a part:

  • Upgrade to the Little Marlow Sewage Treatment plant
  • Improved monitoring of sewage risk areas
  • Identifying of  areas where groundwater infiltrates into the sewage network and then carrying out sealing of tops and lining of sewers to prevent infiltration

When the final plan is completed we hope to be able to report some more detail.

DIG Organisation and Constitution

At the October AGM, it was decided to review and simplify the DIG organisation and constitution in light of us being fully integrated with HVRA. This has now been done and a new Terms of Reference document has been produced. It has been distributed to the DIG members and is placed on the document page in the DIG section of the HVRA website.

Paul Woodford

HVRA Drainage Improvement Group

DIG Update End May

  1. Transport for Bucks Actions

There had been reports of water seeping through the road surface near the foot of Cryers Hill, and about 50 metres along towards High Wycombe. On a very wet day, we eventually spotted water bubbling up in the hedge on the pumping station side of the road, behind the bus stop. On closer inspection this turned out to be a sizeable culvert, but which was almost entirely blocked up and clearly had not been cleaned out for years.

We reported this via FixMyStreet and this is now completely resolved. See pic.

At the last DIG meeting it was agreed that we would ask TfB to inspect the large culvert that runs from the Harrow through to Deeters, and which carries the Hughenden Stream plus road runoff underground along this section. The concerns were that although the road drains are regularly jetted, this large culvert is not and could well be silted up. Again, TfB have checked this out and lifted access chambers. They say that there is little sign of silting up.

2. Thames Water

At the last DIG meeting we discussed the lining work that had been carried out lining a section of the Hughenden sewer along Warrendene Road. The DIG considered that because the water table was at its highest in the Boss Lane to the Surgery area, and that sewer and stream flooding also occurred here, then this area should be a candidate for lining.

This has been put to Thames Water, but their response is that they have no evidence of water ingress in this area, and so have no plans to carry out further lining in Hughenden Valley at this stage. However, they report that additional monitors are being installed across the catchment and the ongoing GISMP (Ground Infrastructure System Management Plan) work being carried out is improving the resilience of the system.

3. Other

We have added the Bucks Council Asset Map (All the road drains) to the HVRA website on the DIG Documents page.

No action yet from Affinity regarding checking/cleaning the culverts under the pumping station.

Paul Woodford

DIG Article for Hughenden News Spring issue

HVRA Drainage Improvement Group

The Dew Pond

Along the footpath between Valley Road and Boss Lane, in the field on the right is a concrete lined pond shaded by a pretty Weeping Ash (albeit leafless at present). Locals will know this as the Dew Pond, put there for the watering of livestock.

The origins of dew ponds lie in pre-history, but are generally regarded as shallow depressions in grazing areas traditionally lined with puddling clay or chalk and allowed to fill themselves from moisture in the air. In practice it is generally considered that traditional dew ponds are just as likely to be filled by water runoff from the fields and, of course, rainfall. Essentially, a dew pond is an artificial rather than a natural feature. Most have largely disappeared and replaced by piped water supply.

The pond on Boss Lane Farm is a concrete construct, a relatively modern method introduced in the early 1900’s, but clearly used on many farms and this one fits the standard profile. The pond is not filled these days and the original tree (see both pictures) is possibly suffering from old age and Ash die back.

In the early days it seems likely that being adjacent to the Hughenden Winterbourne Stream, when the stream flowed it would feed the pond as it still does today. At some point a water supply was laid to enable water to be pumped from two wells on the farm to fill the pond.

As it happens, the pond is just on a hundred years old, built by a former owner of Boss Lane Farm somewhere between 1918 and 1922. Two photos accompany this article, one recently taken and the other, grainy picture is believed to be from the early 1930’s.

So, is this a proper dew pond? Well, yes, it would certainly seem so despite being later updated to a pumped water supply. And it may be that the pond we see was created where an earlier dew pond sat. To make a feature of the pond it would require restoration involving re-lining and a new water supply, possibly from a borehole, which would be an expensive process.

Long may it live as a rather nice village feature.

Thanks to Matt Hopkins for his help in putting this together.

DIG Activities

The winter has been relatively kind to us this year – it has been generally mild, not too wet and while the Hughenden Stream continues to flow merrily through the park, it is dry in its upper reaches.

The DIG will meet in March to discuss plans by the utility companies affecting the Valley and to plan our activities for the year. Typical work we are looking to get done this year include:

  • Fixing of puddling at the foot of Trees Road by TfB (In the budget, we understand)
  • Surveying and clearance of culverts & drains at the pumping station site by Affinity (promised last year…)
  • Continued work on monitoring and further lining of the Hughenden Sewer to prevent surface water ingress by Thames Water. (Apparently 139 metres along Warrendene Rd were lined last year).

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End January 2022

Affinity

During September the DIG met with Chris King of Affinity to get agreement on surveying the drainage pipes under the pumping station. This was agreed to but we have had no further contact from Chris on the subject, we assume due to pressure of work.

To try and get something done on this we have issued a complaint to the Affinity Estate Management team and asked them to find out what will be done and when about this work. Fortunately, mild and relatively dry weather this winter has meant that the drainage there has not been tested.

Road Drainage

The DIG is planning on doing an audit on road drains through the Valley during February. As it happens it already looks as though TfB have carried out some drain cleaning already without any prompting, which is encouraging.

DIG 2022 Kick-start Meeting

After a relatively quiet few months, the DIG is planning to hold a meeting in late February as a starter for the New Year and to allow us to formulate some actions for 2022.

We have requested the Agencies to provide us with their plans and hope to be able to review those at the meeting.

Flooding Training

Although we don’t associate Hughenden Valley with being in a flood risk area, there have been plenty of occasions across the years when roads and properties have been tested by high water table, prolonged rain and so on. As such, the council, Environment Agency and other organisations monitor us for flood risk.

It can therefore make sense to at least be aware of how to deal with flooding when it happens. The DIG website contains some useful advice regarding flooding on the Advice page. On a practical front, Community Impact Bucks are offering free flooding training during March, for those with an interest in the subject. See below.

Community Impact Bucks are running free flood resilience training for local residents in HUGHENDEN VALLEY and RADNAGE on 8TH March 2022 (2.30-4.30pm).

The training is open to anyone who would like to develop their community’s resilience to emergencies such as flooding, snow, other severe weather events or utilities failures. Attendees will find out what community resilience means and what it could look like, how to develop an action plan, and also how to apply for a grant from the Heart of Bucks’ Flood Recovery and Awareness Fund.which could be used for:

  • Capital items to replace those destroyed by flooding
  • Emergency repairs as a result of flood damage
  • Venue/room hire costs for relocating activities as a result of flooding
  • Community projects to prevent future flooding
  • Training for flood damage/prevention

Flood Resilience Training

Although we don’t associate Hughenden Valley with being in a flood risk area, there have been plenty of occasions across the years when roads and properties have been tested by high water table, prolonged rain and so on. As such, the council, Environment Agency and other organisations monitor us for flood risk.

It can therefore make sense to at least be aware of how to deal with flooding when it happens. The DIG website contains some useful advice regarding flooding on the Advice page. On a practical front, Community Impact Bucks are offering free flooding training during March, for those with an interest in the subject. See below.

Community Impact Bucks are running free flood resilience training for local residents in HUGHENDEN VALLEY and RADNAGE on 8TH March 2022 (2.30-4.30pm).

The training is open to anyone who would like to develop their community’s resilience to emergencies such as flooding, snow, other severe weather events or utilities failures. Attendees will find out what community resilience means and what it could look like, how to develop an action plan, and also how to apply for a grant from the Heart of Bucks’ Flood Recovery and Awareness Fund which could be used for:

  • Capital items to replace those destroyed by flooding
  • Emergency repairs as a result of flood damage
  • Venue/room hire costs for relocating activities as a result of flooding
  • Community projects to prevent future flooding
  • Training for flood damage/prevention

For more information about the Hughenden Valley/ Radnage flood training and to book, visit https://communityimpactbucks.org.uk/event/flood-resilience-training-for-communities-hughenden-valley-radnage/

DIG Article for HNews Winter Issue

Pumping Station Ditches and Culverts

During September Jerry Morley and Paul Woodford met with Chris King of Affinity in connection with the drainage issue we have at the pumping station at Hughenden Valley. Chris is a Surveyor with responsibilities for maintenance of infrastructure at Affinity properties.

Chris has agreed to organise a complete site survey at the pumping station, which will involve CCTV checks and, if appropriate, clearance on the two principal culverts under the site which carry the Hughenden stream. It will also involve checking boundaries and cutting back of trees and hedges which have become overgrown.

As a group the DIG are not convinced that these two culverts have sufficient capacity to keep the stream flowing properly when it is in spate. We have seen at least one instance in the last few years of the water in the Valley Road ditch coming right up to the top and threatening to flood onto the road. A simple solution would be for TfB to continue the ditch right along in front of the pumping station so that it could then empty round the perimeter fence of the site into the National Trust field.

Sewer Works in the Valley

One of the biggest problems with the Hughenden Valley sewage system is the ingress of water into the system that typically happens over the winter period. This is common in the country and happens with old infrastructure.

Fractures in pipes and inspection pit brickwork allow ground water to enter the system, whilst road surface water can enter through leaky inspection pit covers. Thames Water have stated in the past that under normal conditions, the sewers in our area run at about 40% of capacity. During a wet winter we know from bitter experience this can exceed 100%, causing spillages.

In the last issue of the magazine, we mentioned that Thames Water was carrying out work on sealing the covers to the sewage inspection pits along Warrendene. Further work was done in the same area in relation to the possible re-lining of the sewer.

This work was of an investigatory nature and Thames Water are seeking to identify leaky areas in our sewage system so that a reactive leak reduction plan can be implemented.

Interestingly, the re-lining of sewage pipes is an established process which can have a major benefit to leaky sewers. Effectively, it is a structural ‘No-Dig’ repair which creates a new pipe within a damaged sewer. A resin impregnated liner is inverted into a defective pipe, it is then pressurised and then cured to form a new pipe. We hope this work comes to pass.

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End September 2021

The transition of HVDIG into the HVRA is now complete. The final part was the closing down of the DIG email addresses, which means that we can now fully close down the old HVDIG website and email system run through TSOHOST. Email addresses for the DIG committee are now:

Peter Cannon: chairman@hughendenresidents.org

Paul Woodford: treasurer@hughendenresidents.org

Matt Hopkins: digdeputychair@hughendenresidents.org

Debs Lemon: digdeputysecretary@hughendenresidents.org

Sarah Mustapha: digsecretary@hughendenresidents.org

During September Jerry Morley and Paul Woodford met with Chris King of Affinity in connection with the drainage issue we have at the pumping station at Hughenden Valley. Chris is a Surveyor with responsibilities for maintenance of infrastructure at Affinity properties.

Chris has agreed to organise a complete site survey at the pumping station, which will involve CCTV checks and, if appropriate, clearance on the two principal culverts under the site which carry the Hughenden stream. It will also involve checking boundaries and cutting back of trees and hedges which have become overgrown.

As a group the DIG are not convinced that these two culverts have sufficient capacity to keep the stream flowing properly when it is in spate. We have seen at least one instance in the last few years of the water in the Valley Road ditch coming right up to the top and threatening to flood onto the road. A simple solution would be for TfB to continue the ditch right along in front of the pumping station so that it could then empty round the perimeter fence of the site into the National Trust field.

Paul Woodford

DIG Report End July 2021

DIG AGM

The DIG AGM was held during July. The main points were that the accounts for 2020/2021 were audited and signed off by Bob Hawkins, the bank accounts is now closed and funds transferred to HVRA. In addition, the new constitution was approved and officers agreed to continue.

Drainage Issues

Trees Rd suffered from a heavy day’s rain with the road grills overflowing and a large amount of puddling at the foot. The Trees Rd team cleared the grills a day or two after.

We reviewed this with Jonathan Roberts the drainage engineer from Bucks CC. He will consider possible additional work, such as joining the grill soakaways to the road drains pipeage. Also he will look at the road surface & edging blocks at the foot of Trees Rd. This will not be priority work.

The DIG team also met with Jonathan to look at the drainage issue that we have at the corner of Boss Lane by the Hopkins field gate and which can lead to flooding of Boss Lane. There is an issue of drainage pipe sizing here plus some other problems. We have not been successful in making progress. Jonathan agreed to conduct some research  into historical survey data and also to look at possible solutions to our problem.

Paul Woodford

Drainage Works in the Valley

Thames Water are currently carrying out drainage works up in Warrendene Road for a serious amount of work. We understand that the sewage inspection pits in the road are being re-rendered around the tops and the lids will then be sealed.

The purpose of this is to prevent the entry of surface water into the sewage system, which contributes significantly to the overloading of the system in Hughenden Valley.

We understand this work will be carried out over several weeks and go right down Valley Road as well as Warrendene. There may be disruption to road users as parts of the sewage system in upper Valley Road run along the centre of the road.