The Hughenden Stream is the major tributary of the River Wye and rises from three springs in the Hughenden Valley and flows for 3.6 km (2.2 miles) running through the grounds of the National Trust's Hughenden Manor to join the Wye in the centre of High Wycombe. Being spring fed it can have intermittent flows and may be dry in its upper reaches in summer months. The problem is compounded by groundwater abstractions that exacerbate the flow problems.
The geology of the valley is Upper Chalk on the higher valley slopes with Middle Chalk on the lower slopes.
Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland occupies the valley tops and upper slopes creating a physical and visual boundary. Much of the woodland is ancient semi-natural or replanted; its ecological value is recognised by local wildlife site designations. Particularly the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Mill Field Wood.
The Environment Agency has designated the Hughenden Stream Hydromorphologically as a heavily modified water body. The total catchment area is 31.5 km2 (12.2 miles2).
Environment Agency Classification for the Hughenden Stream
|2009 Cycle 1||2016 Cycle 2||Objectives|
|Water body status overall||Poor||Moderate||Good by 2027|
|Ecological Status||Poor||Moderate||Good by 2027|
|Chemical Status||Does not require assessment||Good||Good by 2015*|
*As reported in Environment Agency's WFD Classification Status Cycle 2 v3 data set published 18th May 2017.
The Chemical Status of the Stream is classified as Good rather than High due to a slightly lower Dissolved Oxygen content in the stream. The water body overall is only classified as Moderate due to a Moderate classification for the Ecological Status resulting from the Biological Quality component being Moderate primarily due to the macrophytes and phytobenthos elements being low caused by the impacts on flows caused by groundwater abstraction mentioned above. However, the overall water body status for the Hughenden Stream is predicted to be Good by 2027.
You can find out more about the classification of rivers in our catchment by using the Environment Agency’s Catchment Data Explorer.