LOCALS are growing more and more concerned over the state of Herefordshire rivers, with pollution in one now at a record high.

The River Dore Citizen Science Project is a group of volunteers who have been proactively monitoring the health of the river Dore in the Golden Valley.

The river rises on Merbach Hill, close to the border between England and Wales.

It flows for 12 miles through the villages of Dorstone, Peterchurch, Vowchurch, Abbey Dore and Pontrilas, before reaching the river Monnow near Llangua in Monmouthshire.


Marian Wilding Jones, who is part of the group, has been testing pollution levels in the area for over eight years.

The Dore catchment is lined by cattle and poultry farms which add to existing pollution from sewage treatment works.

She said: "The river gets worse and every year we do nothing to stop the pollutants from infecting our rivers, the further away we get from where it should be. It just never gets better."

According to measurements conducted by the group, phosphate readings in the river, while varying from location to location, are almost 10 times the target level and above in some cases.


Mrs Wilding Jones said: "We had a reading a few days ago which couldn't be read by our device because it was too high, but we know it was 23 times the level that is healthy for the river."

She said readings have been bad for a good few years but this year's drought has seen levels higher than ever.

Mrs Wilding Jones said: "I've never seen the river so low as it has been these past few weeks and it has made the problems facing the Dore and the Wye all the more obvious."

The group's data is now used by the Environment Agency in its monitoring of the area and Mrs Wilding Jones is hopeful that this will help focus the minds of politicians to make proactive steps to combat the problem.

She said: "It's becoming quite distressing, but hopefully alerting people to the alarming levels of pollution will help start the recovery process."

In a statement made in July, an EA spokesperson said: "Enhanced by citizen science data, the Environment Agency is using water quality monitoring activity to prioritise how and where to tackle phosphate pollution on the River Wye.

"The Wye catchment is an iconic location and hugely important for biodiversity, principally due to the wide range of rare river wildlife.

"A range of partners including the Environment Agency, Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, are working collaboratively to address concerns about phosphate levels in the catchment and drive forward nature recovery."