“Welcome to my office,” beams Chris Allport, as he greets me on the banks of the Stour at Throop.

It beats mine.

Instead of artificial light, frantic work colleagues and the sound of computers whirring away, his “office” is out in the fresh air with the local wildlife and the sound of running water.

No matter what the weather Chris is out here helping maintain this fishery’s reputation as one of the best in the country.

“People come from all over the country, even abroad, to fish here,” he says. “It’s one of the top fisheries in the country for chub – I’ve had 8lb chub here before.”

The Stour at Throop is also popular with walkers, picnickers and birdwatchers and Chris’s job is to ensure they enjoy it as well as the anglers.

“It’s an easy job,” he says, with a hint of sarcasm. “That’s what people think.”

They’re wrong. Chris, who manages the Stour and its banks between Muscliffe Lane and Iford, has a physically demanding job.

On any given day the 58-year-old can be doing anything from strimming grass on the riverbanks to cutting the weed in the river. To do the latter, Chris has to don his wetsuit and get in the water.

It’s hard work but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love it,” he says.

“I’ve made that many friends doing this job.”

He’s made a few enemies, too.

Chris is frequently having spats with canoeists, who aren’t allowed to paddle on this part of the Stour, and there are always people straying off the beaten track to trespass on private property.

Despite his friendliness, I wouldn’t want to argue with him. He’s a well-built bloke and looks like he could be a bailiff. Which, technically, he is, but not the kind most people are familiar with – water keepers like Chris are also given the title bailiffs.

Aside from keeping the Stour safe and tidy for visitors, as a bailiff, Chris has to ensure it’s more hospitable for fish and wildlife. He points out some concrete slabs that he’s placed in the river, which will help create habitats for the fish.

Further up the river, Chris points out the black silhouettes of chub and barbel, which have been spawning – hence the reason why it’s closed season for river fishing between March 14 and June 16.

“It gives the fish chance to rest and spawn,” says Chris, who reckons this is one of the hardest fisheries to fish.

“The fish have become so wise here.”

Originally from Stourbridge in the West Midlands, Chris moved to sunny Bournemouth when he was 17 to do seasonal work in the hotels.

“Seven children later I’m still here,” chuckles Chris. “Why would I go back, when I have this?”