PILGRIMAGE WILL HIGHLIGHT PLIGHT OF THE WYE
Citizens the length of the River Wye, from its source, to where it ends at the Severn estuary, are planning a month-long pilgrimage in July, to celebrate the ‘nation’s favourite river’ and to raise awareness of the environmental destruction it is facing.
Urgent action is needed to save the Wye and its tributaries in Powys, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire from environmental destruction. Chemicals, sewage, manure, plastics and invasive plants are destroying the natural balance of rivers across these counties. Algal blooms, caused by excessive levels of phosphates and nitrates, are multiplying and key species of plants and animals are in decline.
One of the co-ordinators, Maria Duggan from the Golden Valley, said, “The aim of the Walking with The Wye project is to bring communities together to defend and celebrate these rivers, to raise public awareness of current threats and to inspire action.”
Pure water collected from the source of the Wye at Plynlimon, in Wales, will be carried by a succession of walkers alongside the river and some of its tributaries. Each day’s walk will cover about five miles, with groups or individuals handing over the source water from one point to the next, like the Olympic flame. People can join for as little or as much time as they wish. Most of the journey will take place on foot, but canoeists, cyclists, horse riders and swimmers may also be involved.
There are various events being planned at key places on the route, including Hay, Hereford, Ross, Lydbrook and Chepstow, where the journey will end on 31 July. Many ideas are being explored for both reflective and celebratory events, including citizens’ science sampling, music and theatre, a mass swim, artists working along the riverbank and a people’s assembly.
Maria Duggan said, “We have a core group of walkers and planners located at different points along the Wye, but we need more people to help us raise awareness and bring communities together to save the health of our beautiful rivers. Please get in touch if you, or a group you are involved with, can join us for one, two or 20 miles, or contribute in any other way.”
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If you are interested in taking part or have any ideas you would like to put forward, you can contact the co-ordinating group on firstname.lastname@example.org.