York Walls Festival August 2022 summary

The River Foss Society occupied its usual spot between Foss Islands Road and the river, next to Majestic Wines, for the latest edition of the festival. We had a steady flow of visitors from near and far, from Rowntree Wharf to New Zealand! Some called by to talk about the river and pass on their thoughts and suggestions, others to find out about what we do and learn something of the Foss’s history, and yet more to have a look at a tray of the river’s inhabitants – mayfly larvae, leeches, snails, water boatmen and many, many more. The Foss is a fairly healthy river despite the stress of high nitrogen content and the occasional pollution incident. How it will fare if the drought continues much longer is to be seen.

Despite the widespread presence of duck weed, and the worryingly low dissolved oxygen content of the water, we saw literally hundreds of fish in the clear patches and were visited by the local pair of Mute Swans with their six cygnets. A welcome increase in fledgling numbers from the previous few years. Several visitors commented on the reduced numbers of Coots and feral geese this year too. Mixed blessings there!

On Sunday the City of York Council were kind enough to put Foxy at our disposal allowing our experienced crew to go litter picking, though the low water level did severely restrict their progress. Several bags of assorted (mainly plastic) waste were collected, plus the usual haul of supermarket trolleys and bikes.