The Test and Itchen Association is dedicated to conserving and protecting the Hampshire chalkstreams. We currently have about 400 members. We work closely with a range of partners both inside and outside government who share our conservation and fishery interests to promote and protect the interests of our members.
The Association was formed in 1907. Originally known as the Test and Itchen Trout Fishing Association the name was shortened to the Test and Itchen Association in 1993 to reflect our wider conservation and environmental interests. You can read a more detailed history using the button below.
The Association is steered by a Board of Directors who are elected at the AGM by our members. The Directors have a wide range of expertise covering river and estate management and practical river keeping and are ale to draw on their extensive fishery, environmental, legal and scientific experience. The Board meets four times per year.
The day-to-day activities of the Association are managed by Executive Director, Jem Dunn and Finance Officer, Monica Howard. The Association also has a number of part-time volunteer Wardens who help coordinate and facilitate the weed cuts on the Test. The River Wardens for 2023 are, Keith Fisher, Nigel de Foubert and Chris Geal.
The Association’s office is at Kimbridge Estate on the River Test.
The objectives of the Association are defined in the Articles of Association. They are:
To conserve the waters of the Test, Itchen and Meon and to prevent anything that might damage them
To promote Game Fishing on the Hampshire chalkstreams
To facilitate and coordinate good river management practice
We do this by:
Identifying threats to the rivers and taking action to address these threats
Promoting the adoption of good river management practices
Maintaining constructive relationships with those responsible for regulating the rivers
Working with other like-minded organisations and individuals to protect and promote our member’s interests
Commissioning and sponsoring research to understand better the ecology of the chalkstreams
Two formal membership meetings are held each year: an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Spring, and an Autumn Members’ Day at the end of the fishing season, usually in October. The Autumn Meeting is a day scheduled with invited speakers who share their expertise in their field. The health of our chalkstreams, water quality and flows are central themes, but wider topics such as habitat management and protection of the broader chalkstream environment are likely to be discussed. Recent members’ days have finished off with a field visit, such as a restoration project. Members will receive an email invitation to all meetings and events and they will also be advertised on the website. In addition, we hold regular meetings with riparian owners to discuss their concerns and aspirations.
Research and Training
The Association supports and sponsors research projects aimed at developing a better understanding of the river environment. As a small organisation, we often work in collaboration with other organisations, trusts and charities in both research and training projects – together we can achieve far more. We are happy to support appropriate student dissertations and projects that aim to broaden the understanding of our rivers and the risks to their future. The impact on native fish populations of stocking farmed trout or invasive, non-native species, fish predation, and river restoration projects to improve the habitat for wild trout and salmon are good examples.
If you are a student or an academic with a project in these areas, please contact us for further discussion.
On request, we run river visits and workshops to explore different approaches to river management. We can also arrange training courses on subjects such as river fly (invertebrate) monitoring. If you are looking for a training day along Test or Itchen, please contact us.
Our members receive the annual Rivers Report, containing reports on the fishing season, articles of interest and information on the Association’s past activities and upcoming events. They also receive regular updates about the T&I activities via e-Newsletters and brief articles on our website. We also provide reports and publications from research projects about the sustainability and health of our chalkstreams. All publications can be found in the ‘Members Area’.
In the past, the Association has found it necessary to take legal action to deal with serious threats to the river environment. It has also fought applications for water abstraction, gravel extraction and the discharge of effluents. It has prevented the establishment of navigation rights on the River Itchen. It takes an active interest in planning applications which might lead to adverse impacts on the rivers.
River management coordination
The Association agrees each year with the Environment Agency dates for weedcutting on the Test and Itchen. The Association’s wardens monitor the weed cuts in order to minimise the disruption for river users.
There are three main categories of membership.
River Owners. The core membership of the Association has always been the owners of the Test and Itchen and their tributaries. There is no obligation for a river owner to be a member of the Association, but the majority of them choose to be so. More than 90% of the Test and Itchen is currently owned by members of the Association, ranging from large Estates with many miles of river, to individuals with a couple of hundred yards. The Association currently has over 150 Owner members.
River Keepers. The Hampshire chalkstreams are heavily managed rivers which owe much of their beauty, environmental richness and world-class fishing to the dedicated efforts of river keepers. Some large Estates employ a number of full-time keepers. Other owners rely on part-time contractors or volunteer keepers. All river keepers actively involved in managing the chalkstreams are encouraged to be members of the Association. We currently have about 100 Keeper members.
River Members. Membership of the Association is open to anyone who shares our interest in conserving and protecting the Hampshire chalkstreams. Our River Members tend to be those who spend time by the chalkstreams, whether fishing or simply enjoying their unique environmental treasures.
River Owners pay an annual subscription based on the size of their river holding. Membership is free for River Keepers. River Members pay an annual subscription of £40.
If you would like to support our vital work conserving and protecting the Test, Itchen and Meon rivers, then please help us by joining our association.