ONE man’s love of nature has resulted in a unique book chronicling ten years spent on a short stretch of the River Itchen.

Almost every day since 2008 George Mann has observed and recorded flora and fauna, the changing seasons and the way the river is managed by man, between Martyr Worthy and Easton.

Now he has published The River Itchen at Martyr Worthy: Wildlife and Riverkeeping Observed.

The result of thousands of hours of careful observation and study is one of the most detailed records of life natural life recorded.

It is a unique record of the wildlife on a small stretch of the river, upstream of Easton Bridge, courtesy of the landowner Simon Ffennell. Mr Mann has photographed everything from otters to eels, cormorants to kingfishers, dragonflies to glow worms, foxes, deer and badgers, many taken at night by special cameras.

There are also chapters on the history of the stretch of river with many old photographs as well as the art, literature and poetry it has inspired.

Mr Mann told the Chronicle: “It is easy to be captivated and inspired by a chalk stream and to be fascinated by the flora and fauna that all form part of a wonderful ecosystem.

“The Itchen at Martyr Worthy is such a place, one that I have been privileged to study for the last ten years.

“An interest in the natural world around me has been part of my being from a very early age. As a boy I collected insects in jam jars, today I collect them in my camera. Thus, the opportunity to observe the plants, birds, insects, fish and riverkeeping activities at close quarters on a daily basis, was not to be missed. Even the the history of the water meadows, weather and the landscapes were there to discover. Many aspects of natural history relate to those who are more scientifically minded, yet there are inspirational landscapes, patterns, shapes and reflections that provide rich material for the artist, poet and storyteller.

“The river has been controlled and manipulated by man over many centuries. Historical accounts suggest a river that was more in balance with Nature as against today’s environment where commercial operations, water extraction and climate change combine to challenge the flora and fauna on many fronts.

“My observations and thoughts provide a snapshot of what is there today, perhaps as a reference in years to come. It is my hope that they will inspire others, especially young people, to go out to observe and enjoy the natural world around them, whether as artists or scientists, and that by observing or using materials they will understand and appreciate what Nature has to offer and what needs protecting.”

The 512-page hardback book has over 1,500 colour illustrations

It is on sale at Waterstones bookshop in Winchester, Oxley’s bookshop and Long Barn, in Alresford, and Kings Worthy Post Office.

Signed copies can be obtained from George ( or by calling 01962 779944).

(ISBN 9781907640162, £35).