English Chalkstreams

English Chalkstreams

We offer a variety of private beats on the rivers Test, Itchen and Kennet in conjunction with ‘Fishing Breaks’, the chalkstream specialist. These beats are accessible from London but offer the perfect rural fishing experience in beautiful countryside with a good pub close by.

Although there is a huge variety of fishing available in England, to many, a few days on the southern chalkstreams are an ambition on their bucket list equal to any worldwide destination. To this end we are pleased to offer a variety of private beats on the rivers Test, Itchen and Kennet in conjunction with ‘Fishing Breaks’, the chalkstream specialists.

These beats are accessible from London but offer the perfect rural fishing experience in beautiful countryside with a good pub close by to relax in after a day on the river. We can also arrange suitable accommodation in a variety of pubs and hotels used to anglers.

Chalkstream fishing is not difficult but it is possibly different to anything you may have experienced elsewhere, so we recommend using one of Fishing Breaks’ team of experienced fishing guides who provide advice, tackle, flies, local transportation and licences. They are all qualified instructors and will enable you to make the most of your fishing.

Type of fishing

We have a large portfolio of beats and the options here are just an indication of what is available.

Shawford Park, River Itchen

This is a hidden gem in the grounds of the magnificent Shawford Park House that dates back to the fifteenth century. The private estate employs full time river keeper Pete Glyn-Jones who has carefully looked after the fishing for a decade.

There are two beats, both of which you will fish, one on the main river and the other a fast carrier. In total they provide close to a mile of water in wonderful surroundings. There is the option to wade the carrier if you wish, but you’ll have no problem if you want to stay on the bank. The fishing is available for single rods or parties of up to four. There is a simple fishing hut and easy parking.

Benham Estate, River Kennet

The Benham Estate has by some considerable margin more chalkstream fishing that any other estate in the whole of Berkshire. The park is a delightful mix of fishing with the larger main river criss-crossed by a variety of carriers and side streams which all adds up to something in the region of five miles of water.

The fishing is mostly from the bank, though on occasion you may be able to wade some of the small stream sections. There is an excellent head of wild fish supplemented by regular stocking. The full-time river keeper Gary Allen is usually on hand to greet you and there is a fishing cabin beside the river with parking immediately adjacent.

Wherwell Priory, River Test

Wherwell Priory is one of the most idyllic country estates in Hampshire’s famous River Test valley, where the river flows through a tranquil parkland setting.The resident river keeper, Terry Snellgrove has been on the River Test for close to forty years and takes great pride in maintaining the beats of the clear, flowing river and bright gravel beds from which trout and fly life thrive.


Bullington Manor, River Test

The fishing comprises just over 1½ miles of double bank river, divided into two beats named The Park and The Priory. All of the fishing is from the bank, though there are some short sections that can be waded. Each beat has a comfortable fishing cabin and is suitable for up to three rods, or you can combine both beats for a larger party.

If sight fishing over bright gravel beds, picking out trout with a dry fly or sight fishing with a traditional nymph pattern between the waving tails of ranunculus is your chalkstream dream then this is the place to head for. You will rarely find a more beautiful spot than these beats on the Upper Test, where the 4½ miles of unspoilt chalkstream fishing is always crystal clear. Immaculately maintained, with three picturesque fishing huts and resident keeper Jonny Walker, Bullington Manor has remained a Fishing Breaks favourite for each of our 25 years.

Bullington Manor is excellent for the seasonal hatches we hanker after, where the chalkstream year may be measured by the flies you pluck from your box. There are four beats of roughly the same length and all double bank, but within that there are some variations that give each a distinct edge.