More than 130 citizen scientists from both sides of the border gathered beside the river Wye in Hay-on-Wye to demand urgent action to protect the river.

They represented several groups that campaign about pollution in the river, including Friends of The Upper Wye, Friends of The Lower Wye, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Friends of the Lugg, and the Golden Valley Action Group.

All are involved in regularly monitoring pollution in the river, to build up an overall picture of the problem.

Friends of the Upper Wye trustee Eamon Bourke said: “We are putting out an SOS for the Wye. It needs rescuing, and the governments in Wales and England must act now.”

He explained: “It has fallen to people like us to do the work that the environment agencies on both sides of the border should be doing.”

The protest on Sunday (June 12) came ahead of several events in and around Herefordshire this summer intended to draw attention to the plight of the river and its tributaries.

On Saturday, June 25, an afternoon and evening of events and discussion organised by Herefordshire Labour will be held at Bishop’s Meadow, Hereford, and later at Hereford Football Club stadium.

Featuring farmers, journalists, authors and lawyers, it aims to come up with “workable solutions” to the Wye’s pollution problem.

Hereford Times: The Hereford Times' Save the Wye Campaign - click to find out moreThe Hereford Times' Save the Wye Campaign - click to find out more

There will then be a 'WyeJuly' of related events between Friday, July 8, and Sunday, July 11.

On the Friday, CPRE and mayor of Leominster Trish Marsh will host a series of events in the town to raise awareness of the plight of the Lugg in particular.

A citizen science outreach stall at the Friday Market, a lunchtime concert of words and music at Leominster Priory, and an evening debate and discussion at Grange Court, will make up the day.

On the Saturday in Hereford, there will be citizen science activities for families at the King George’s Playing Fields, followed at 5.15pm by a screening at the Courtyard of River, a meditation on rivers narrated by Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe, with music by Radiohead and others.


On the Sunday a “procession of endangered river creatures” will be held in Monmouth, followed by stalls and events on the Green by the Old Monnow Bridge between 11am and 3pm, concluding with a “pilgrimage” to the Wye.

Also on the Sunday in Hay-on-Wye, there will be a “declaration on the state of the river” from the Castle Steps at noon, followed by an afternoon of poetry, music, performance and debate.

For full details on the WyeJuly events, see the Friends of the Upper Wye website.