Welcome to Friends of the Rib & Quin


Friends of the Rib & Quin (FORQ) is a community based organisation dedicated to improving the plight of our local chalk streams, which like the other rare and precious chalk streams across Hertfordshire and the south east of England are in crisis due to over abstraction and pollution.

Our objectives are to raise awareness of these important and rare river environments through events throughout the year, benchmark and monitor the river landscape, wildlife and biodiversity through citizen science projects and campaign, with other river groups to reduce and stop the over abstraction of the chalk aquifer which has been slowly depleting this environment for decades.

Latest News


State of our rivers

This article brings together information gathered from the Environment Agency through their Data Catchment Explorer, industry data collated by The Rivers Trust and information taken from the Defra sponsored Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy 2021 chaired by Charles Rangeley-Wilson.

Much of it was first presented as part of our Spring 2022 Public Meeting in High Cross.

Phosphate pollution

Over the last few months Friends of the Rib & Quin have introduced a water testing regime at several of our Riverfly monitoring sites, specifically looking at phosphate levels.

This article highlights the levels of phosphate found and the apparent culpability of Buntingford Sewage Treatment Works in causing the pollution.

River water quality

The quality of water in a chalk stream is one of it’s key attributes. Rainwater that falls in the catchment percolates through the chalk, emerging through fissures to create springs of pure, naturally filtered crystal clearwater of a constant temperature. How far up the catchment the springs will run is driven by the level of groundwater in the aquifer. 

But of course, not all the water in our chalk streams is derived from spring sources. 

Local historian and writer Kathryn Shreeve has been with Friends of the Rib & Quin from the very beginning. She has published several books on the area through the ages and in ‘Life Along the River’ tells the story of our river valleys through history, serialised into chapters on our website.



More News and Blog Posts

Buntingford Watermill Bridge Riverfly Monitoring – October 2022

Site: Luynes Rise, Buntingford, River RibRecorders: David Edwards, John HoodSurvey date: 27th October 2022Time: 1400hrsAir temperature:Water Temperature: Weather: Flow: 2Phosphate: 0.42Nitrate: 2Nitrite: 0.3 Cased Caddisfly41Caseless caddisfly201Mayfly (Ephemeridae)00BWO (Ephemerellidae)00Olives (Baetidae)00Stoneflies2?1Shrimps (Gammarus)102Score5Water hog louse (150) cranefly larvae (4), Leeches (20)

Buntingford Aspenden Road Bridge Riverfly Monitoring – October 2022

Site: Aspenden Road Bridge, Buntingford, River RibRecorders: David Edwards, John HoodSurvey date: 27th October 2022Time: 1100hrsAir temperature:Water Temperature: Weather: Flow: 3Phosphate: 2.50+Nitrate: 50.0Nitrite: 0.3 Cased Caddisfly41Caseless caddisfly11Mayfly (Ephemeridae)00BWO (Ephemerellidae)00Olives (Baetidae)11Stoneflies00Shrimps (Gammarus)00Score3Water hog louse (10), beetle larvae (5), Crane fly larvae (3)

FORQ recognised at CPRE Herts Awards

Friends of the Rib & Quin were honoured to be amongst the nominees for the CPRE Herts Awards for 2022 and joined other groups at the presentation evening at County Hall in Hertford in mid-October. CPRE Herts ambition for the awards is to recognise and celebrate inspirational people engaged in activities which enhance and protect…

Water – What is going on?

A few months ago I was pointed to a very interesting paper entitled ‘Water – What is going on?’ by Professor Dieter Helm that looks at the past and current economics of the water industry and it’s privatisation, giving a very large pointer as to how and why our rivers and chalk streams are in…

Standon A120 Bridge Riverfly Monitoring – October 2022

Site: Standon A120 Bridge, River RibRecorders: Toby Spencer, Nic BartropSurvey date: 20th October 2022Time: 1400hrsAir temperature:Water Temperature: 12ºCWeather: Flow: 3Phosphate: 1.14Nitrate: 5ppmNitrite: 0 Cased Caddisfly752Caseless caddisfly41Mayfly (Ephemeridae)61BWO (Ephemerellidae)00Olives (Baetidae)232Stoneflies00Shrimps (Gammarus)1453Score9sticklebacks 13, leeches 2, diving beetle larvae 2

Weir removed on the lower Rib

Over recent weeks work has been under way to make improvements to a stretch of the River Rib towards its southern end. Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust have worked with the riparian owners Abbey Cross Angling Society and contractors RJ Bull from Hampshire on a project to remove a weir and create a new gravel…

The bed of the River Rib as it enters Buntingford, June 2020

VISIT OUR ONLINE SHOP AND DISCOVER A RANGE OF T SHIRTS AND OTHER ITEMS THAT LOOK GREAT AND RAISE VITAL FUNDS FOR OUR WORK

a selection from the T shirts available in our SHOP

LotterySocial HistoryWildlife recording
Friends of the Rib & Quin has joined the East Herts Lottery as a way to raise funds towards our ongoing costs.
The East Herts Lottery runs on a weekly basis with each ticket costing £1. Half of the ticket price goes directly to Friends of the Rib & Quin. A further 10% goes to a general good cause fund, with the remaining 40% covering prizes and admin. Full details of the lottery and how to buy tickets can be found via our lottery web page here, or from the LOTTERY menu link in the website header.
Taking inspiration from the great social historian of Victorian East Anglia – George Ewart Evans, FORQ would like to contribute in a small way to the recording of our own social history. We have created a form to record individual reminiscences of the rivers, the history, archaeology, wildlife, fishing and memories of occasions spent in work and play, on, around or living near them. If you have a story about living in the Rib or Quin valleys why not record it here.


Recording the wildlife of the Rib & Quin Valleys is a key element of the work of Friends of the Rib & Quin. You can contribute too, just by recording the plants, trees, animals, birds and funghi you see via the iNaturalist smartphone app and your sightings will be automatically added to our project page. The project began in January 2020 and now has over 600 recorded sightings and in excess of 300 species identified. Take a look here.




We have some of the rarest ecosystems in the world in Hertfordshire and they are under threat.

The River Rib is a chalk stream in North East Hertfordshire that rises close to the village of Buckland. It then runs south through Wydial, Buntingford and Westmill, before reaching Braughing, Standon and Puckeridge. Continuing south it divides the villages of Thundridge and Westmill before swinging south-west to join the River Lea between Hertford and Ware.
The Quin rises close to Cokenach and flows near Barkway, Hormead and Hare Street before reaching Braughing and joining the Rib.

Chalk streams are incredibly important and globally rare environment with a unique ecology.  There are no more than 200 of these streams and rivers in the world, several of which are in Hertfordshire, including;
– River Mimram
– River Beane
– River Rib
– River Quin
– River Ash
– River Stort
– River Ver
– River Chess
– River Hiz

Friends of the Rib & Quin is a community organisation focused on  protecting and improving the habitats and environment of the River Rib and River Quin to the benefit of wildlife and the local community.

If you’re a landowner, member of a local group / organisation, or individual interested in finding out more about how you might get involved in protecting and improving your local river, we’d love to hear from you!

Drop us an email at FORQcomms@gmail.com or use the Contact page in the menu above so that we have your contact details and we will keep you updated of upcoming meetings and activities.

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