The River Great Stour rises from springs at the foot of the Greensand Ridge on the south side of the M20 motorway at Lenham. The infant river then runs east to Ashford. The River East Stour rises within a mile of the sea to the northwest of Hythe but runs away from the sea westwards to join the Great Stour near Pledge’s Mill at the bottom of East Hill, Ashford.
The combined rivers then continue as the Great Stour through Wye to Canterbury and thence through low lying arable land to the river’s mouth in Pegwell Bay near Sandwich.
The lower river is joined by the Little Stour at Plucks Gutter which has risen as the Nailbourne near Lyminge. There is then the Sarre Penn which is fed by streams from the Blean Hills south of Whitstable and Herne Bay.
The catchment of the Stour is therefore extensive and whilst its main sources are generally away from Kent’s chalk downs, the section of the river between Wye and Canterbury enjoys the full character of a chalk stream as a result of a significant influx of groundwater from chalk springs in the downs on either side of the river valley between Wye and Chilham.
This is the water which has been of particular interest to the Stour Fishery Association (SFA) since its inception.