The Weed Cutting Times

Weed cutting takes place during the fishing season on dates and at frequencies fixed by the Test and Itchen Association. 

The weed cutting dates are notified in the annual information provided to members, both for the Test as a whole and for the Timsbury fishery. In addition, the fishery manager writes to members before each weed cut if the weed is cut on their day.

Weed cutting does not, generally, make fishing impossible but may adversely affect the fishing on a temporary basis because of the large quantities of cut weed floating down the river. The T&I introduced a rolling programme of weed cutting some years ago under which weed is cut and cleared off progressively from upstream to downstream on the River Test.


Clearing off is the process by which cut weed is floated by river managers downstream to collection points. The nearest collection point to Timsbury is at Timsbury Bridge. This system minimises the number of days on which the fishery should be affected in each weed cut.

The weed cutting involves the Environment Agency, or a private sub-contractor, supervised by the fishery manager, coming in with their boat to cut the main river weed during each of the specified periods, and also on the main carrier during the July period. Apart from this the carriers are cut by hand.


The Environment Agency is involved in cutting large sections of the River Test and consequently it is not possible to be specific as to which days they will be cutting at Timsbury. It is usually possible, however, to fish during weed cuts, despite some disruption.


Weed cutting is a necessary part of chalk stream maintenance and should not put members off fishing for long. Weed growth varies considerably from season to season and the extent of cutting is one of the key management decisions. For example, in years with low water flow, weed growth can be used to hold back water, thereby ensuring that the shallower parts of the fishery remain fishable. For this reason, in low flow years, members may often see weed growing right up to the surface relatively early in the season.


Blanket weed has become a problem on many sections of the River Test in the late summer. Members may expect to see some blanket weed growing within the fishery, particularly on the main carrier.