Its name means ‘clear’, but in recent years the River Clyst has been anything but clean and clear. Monitoring by the Environment Agency has revealed a disturbing loss of wildlife and decline in fish numbers in this important Devon river.
Starting next month a team of Agency officers will try to identify sources of pollution that are causing water quality to deteriorate in the Clyst. Using special sampling and monitoring equipment they will try to pinpoint pollution ‘hot-spots’ throughout the catchment.
The investigation will include visits to farms and industrial estates as well as private residences where sewerage and drainage systems will be checked.
‘It is time to put an end to this gradual decline of the River Clyst and help make it run clear and clean again. This will encourage fish and wildlife to return. We’ll be adopting a holistic approach and looking closely at anything that might be having an adverse effect on water quality within the catchment,’ said Derek Carter for the Environment Agency.
‘For this investigation to succeed, we will need the help and co-operation of everyone who lives in the Clyst Valley as it is likely officers will need to visit industrial sites, domestic premises and farms throughout the catchment over the coming months as they search for possible sources of pollution,’ said Derek Carter.
Rising near Cullompton, the Clyst meanders through the East Devon countryside through  Plymtree and Clyst St Lawrence before heading south down the Clyst Valley through Broadclyst, Clyst Honiton, Clyst St Mary and Clyst St George and flowing into Exe estuary near Topsham.
The name Clyst is Celtic for ‘clean stream’.
Anyone witnessing pollution should call the Environment Agency’s free 24-hour hotline 0800 80 70 60. People can also contact the Agency on 08708 506 506 to obtain information and advice on foul drainage issues.