ONE thousand brown trout were released into the Horsenden stream near Chinnor last week in a bid to restore the fish to their natural habitat.

The Environment Agency says there has been a decline in native brown trout in South East England over the last century and the main aim of the project is to help restore some of the fish population in the area.

Jennie Balmer, a technical fisheries officer with the agency, said: "Historical fisheries data from the Horsenden stream indicates significant brown trout populations in the past, but in more recent years fisheries surveys have been very disappointing. Hopefully with a little help we can return the native brown trout back to the Horsenden stream."

Before being released the young trout, known as fingerlings, were reared from eggs in tanks at a fish farm.

After being cared for by the Environment Agency, fishery officers decided that the fingerlings at six months old and 124mm in length should be released into a natural environment.

In the past two years the Environment Agency has tried to restock the stream without much success using trout eggs in incubated boxes.

Horsenden stream is known as a chalk stream, which is a rare habitat ideal for the fish and the agency is unclear about why the fish have not taken to the water.