the old town slipway in May. © 2018 Nick Skeens

Over the years, access to the river for people with dinghies, rowing boats, small motorboats and canoes has been privatised or removed, which is a source of irritation for locals and visitors alike.

For example, the Town Slipway, on West Quay, is derelict and anyway, no longer accessible for dinghies on trailers. This was because the original access was cut off by all the mud dug up to create the marina, which was dumped on Riverside Park to create the West Quay plateau.

There is access to the river via the Marina at the end of Foundry Lane, but they do charge for each launch.

The Town Pontoon, opposite the Anchor Hotel, is open to the public, but because of the railings and seawall, it is an exceedingly tricky place from which to launch a river craft.

The Town Pontoon in July. © 2018 Nick Skeens