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River appears

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 07 July 2010

It is a rare occurrence recorded in the Doomsday book and to this day one that leaves locals mystified.

And now a river which springs up sporadically every couple of years is running through the streets of Burnham Market again.

It is a rare occurrence recorded in the Doomsday book and to this day one that leaves locals mystified.

And now a river which springs up sporadically every couple of years is running through the streets of Burnham Market again.

Goose Beck flows from saturated chalk, into the fishpond, through Westgate Hall gardens, erupting just before the churchyard and through the town.

But despite it flowing for as long as historical documents date back, no-one knows the real reason it happens, can predict when the next unique event will take place or how long it will run for.

Local historian Diana Mansell, who has lived in the town since 1934, said: “It used to be called Ghost Beck because of its extraordinary behaviour.

“It's very erratic, sometimes it will flow every year, sometimes every seven years. The amount of time it will run for varies too.

“In 2000 the springs sprung up through the road. When there's a lot of rainfall it saturates the chalk and in time the water springs up.

“The water must be so pure because of the filtering. But I've never known anyone to drink out of it. It's an amazing phenomenon.

“A lot of the time visitors just think a drain has overflowed.”

Goose Beck last flowed in May 2003 and sprung up in February this year, and while rumours abound about the water's healing powers, tests have shown it is very different from water produced locally and may even come from the Chilterns.

Paul Whittome, owner of the Hoste Arms, said: “It's a unique feature. Everybody who knows about it is fascinated by it.

“Although a couple of weeks ago customers complained I hadn't redirected it. I thought they were joking at first. They weren't.”


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