Longparish Village Handbook (1999 edition)
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Fishing on the River Test

Although barely 30 miles in length, the Test is the most famous trout stream in the world. If the quality of the fishing is not quite what it was, that is because of the declining water level, the result of ever-increasing abstraction and a recent shortage of the rainfall which is needed to fill up the chalk aquifers. The Middleton Estate estimates that the water level has fallen about 2 feet in 30 years. The river is fed by springs throughout its length, and these are essential for the watercress industry. Much of the river in Longparish has either been narrowed or allowed to grow in, in order to give it depth. The water flow is controlled by hatches; because of that, and the fact that the chalk acts as a sponge to soak up surplus water, flooding in the village is not a danger. The beauty of the river is maintained by careful keepering. The weed is cut, and the banks built up with chalk.

The fishing is privately owned. Much of it goes either with the Longparish House Estate or with Middleton, whose owners let rods by the day or by the season, which runs from May 1st to September 30th. The accepted method of fishing is with a dry (or floating) fly, cast upstream with a view to deceiving the fish into thinking it is part of its normal diet.

The river is regularly stocked with brown trout, and occasionally rainbow trout. The more inaccessible a fish is to the fishermen the better the chance it has of surviving the season.

Grayling are also plentiful, and make good autumn sport.

The fishing is of great value. If the riparian rights of a stretch of the main river in or around Longparish were to come up for sale, entitling its owner to fish from both banks, it could be expected to fetch something in the region of £300 to £400 a yard.

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