The Rev. Gilbert White's 'Natural history of Selborne' is the fourth most published book in the English language, constantly in print  since 1788.

Isaac Walton, often described as the father of angling wrote the classic 'Compleat angler', and that book too has become one of the most reprinted works in the history of English writings.

Isaac Walton often fished the river Wandle as did Admiral Lord Nelson who described the trout as being among the finest he had ever caught.

Then came the industrial revolution which well and truly muddied the Wandle waters. 'Muddied' is probably too mild  an adjective as with the proliferation of mills along its banks toxic waste and pollution virtually killed all life in the river.

So bad did it become that on occasions the river's surface actually caught fire!

In recent years, apart from a few setbacks, water quality has steadily improved assisted by regular clean ups by enthusiastic volunteers.

There are now over twelve species of fish swimming in the Wandle including trout, helped by a local school's project

to rear trout fry in the classroom for re-stocking the river.

Isaac Walton and Horatio Nelson would certainly approve.

Peering over the bridge leading from the car park in Morden Hall park we can see large shoals of chub and occasional sizeable barbel and carp. In recent years sticklebacks, once abundant, seem to have declined as have stocks of European eel which is giving cause for concern.

The illustration shows a trout leaping for a mayfly.