These two outlets create a small brook that flows west underneath the main A37 Bristol to Wells road towards Litton via a small settlement at Ford. The river here is fast flowing and shallow, crossed by numerous small bridges and fords. Occasionally, the river disappears underground through culverts and pipes, re-emerging further down the hill.
At Litton the River Chew turns north to feed two medium sized Bristol Water reservoirs - Upper and Lower Litton - which have supplied drinking water to the region for over a century. The top lake is very deep and covers an area of 11 acres, while the lower water is 7 acres in size and much shallower. A large dam and spillway separates the two lakes, creating a dramatic landscape. Litton Reservoir is regularly stocked with Trout and features two angling lodges and boats which are available for hire.
Once clear of Lower Litton dam and the village of Sherborne, the Chew becomes a modest brook once again, winding its way to the villages of Coley and South Widcombe boosted along its journey by three small tributaries.
Here the valley is wider and the flow less frantic. There are deeper pools throughout this stretch where flood waters have carved out the river bed, creating ideal conditions for fly fishing.
The stream then meanders north westwards through lush pasture for another mile, further bolstered by another large Mendip-fed tributary rising in the hills above East Harptree near Priddy.
The upper River Chew ends its first phase as it enters Herriots Pool, an Avon Wildlife Trust nature reserve, which in turn feeds the South West's largest reservoir - Chew Valley Lake.
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