The Wraysbury Drain – an ‘ordinary watercourse’?

A brief report to Wraysbury Parish Council from Ewan Larcombe 9/10/2019

Background: The Wraysbury Drain is over two miles of very ancient and legally
protected watercourse that is an important part of the local network of land
drainage infrastructure. Starting near Wraysbury Railway Station the channel
takes a steadily curving route downstream running generally parallel to Station
Road, the High Street and Staines Road and finishing in Hythe End. The
channel is designated ‘ordinary watercourse’ but has dimensional crosssections specified by legislation over 200 years ago.

Changes – starting in the 1980’s: The area between Douglas Lane, Station
Road and the railway line was quarried for gravel and the channels entirely
removed. After ignoring warnings the railway bridge collapsed in 1988. Upon
completion of partial backfilling the local drainage channels were reinstated on
different routes. It became necessary to install a weir in order to ‘drive’ (i.e.
provide sufficient head of water) the now relocated Wraysbury Drain. The
original stoplog weir was then replaced with an adjustable metal weir in about
2006. There are images of the two weirs available.

The current situation:
a. Despite expenditure of at least £125,000 and the recent best efforts of
local volunteers the Wraysbury Drain is still not flowing.
b. The failed weir at Wraysbury Station was identified as a major problem
and reported in September 2018.
c. After a long list of reasons why maintenance works could not be started
the weir was eventually repaired (by RBWM?) in mid-July 2019.
d. There is still no means of weir adjustment. A ‘key’ is required.
e. The channel is blocked with gravel at both sides of and beneath the
bridge at the entrance to the Dive Centre in Station Road. The gravel
needs to be cleared. Who is responsible?
f. The Diving Centre Bridge design/construction shortcoming allows
vehicles to displace the gravel into the channel. The bridge needs fixing
otherwise the problem will continue.
g. From the Dive Centre Bridge upstream to the junction near the weir –
flow is restricted by thirty years of tree growth. This new section of
channel was created along a different route after the Wraysbury Station
Railway Bridge collapse in 1988. This length of the Wraysbury Drain has
not been maintained for 30 years.  Who is responsible? Apart from the
cost there will be issues relating to access and/or responsibility!
h. At Feather’s Lane the channel is now entirely blocked, having been filled
to ground level with rubble and fenced over. The channel has also been
culverted without permission.  Action is required now.


For the Unbelievable but True Story of the Wraysbury Drain please follow local link below:

Added 15/8/2020 – For the Jacobs Wraysbury Drain Survey  dated September 2014