A NEW Zealand-born adventurer has finished her journey down the length of a Herefordshire river, encountering many obstacles on the way due to rubbish and pollution.

Sophie Marsh, who is the niece of Leominster mayor Trish Marsh, has spent the past week, biking, walking, paddling, cycling and canoeing the length of the river Lugg.

She has recounted her journey and the many challenges the river posed, saying it was “murky, polluted and smelly”, having to abandon the canoe stage of the trip early.

Hereford Times: Sophie Marsh attempting to navigate her way through rubbish and branches as she heads downstream on the LuggSophie Marsh attempting to navigate her way through rubbish and branches as she heads downstream on the Lugg

Miss Marsh said: "On the outskirts of Leominster, it became another river entirely.


"It was a modified, polluted-looking channel.

"At some point on this journey I had become quite invested in the health of the Lugg, so this really saddened me."

Day four of Miss Marsh's challenge brought her most adventurous day yet.

She was joined by Ian Brasnett of Hereford Canoe Club as she set off by boat from Leominster to Moreton-on-Lugg.

She said: "It started as a nice paddle but soon became a battle of wills as we encountered blockage after blockage, caused by fallen trees, one requiring Ian's pruning saw.

"These made a dam for rubbish. The smell was disgusting and the water murky."

The canoe stage had to be abandoned slightly early due to blockages.

Miss Marsh said: "I enjoyed the day from an adventurous sense, but the Lugg itself is no longer enjoyable.

"It's polluted and smelly. It's a great shame."

The trip raised awareness of the many challenges the River Lugg faces.

The river runs for around 60 miles from its source in Pool Hill in Wales to just beyond Mordiford, near Hereford, where it joins the Wye.

Plans for the building of over 2000 homes in the Lugg catchment have been put on hold due to the high phosphate levels in the vicinity.

Miss Marsh began her journey on Sunday, August 7, mainly walking through farm valleys before finishing in the border town of Presteigne.

The last day of Miss Marsh's travels downstream took her from Moreton-on-Lugg through Hereford to the end in the village of Mordiford, where the river joins the Wye.

She said: "Despite the challenges and despite the pollution, I have had a really enjoyable and interesting five days following the river and meeting many people along the way who care about it.

"It will not be easy, but it's definitely a river worth saving."