The Wye was voted the nation’s favourite river in 2010. It rises in the mountains of mid-Wales and flows south for some 150 miles, becoming part of the border between Wales and England before meeting the Severn. In its lower stretches, it meanders for 45 miles (72 km) through the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from just south of Hereford down to Chepstow. In recent years the Wye has come under increasing pressure as water quality has declined and the climate and nature crises have impacted on the health of the river.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is one of 46 AONBs in the UK. AONBs are nationally designated and protected landscapes cared for by locally accountable partnerships that promote and support effective long term management to keep the area special. The Wye Valley AONB is the only designated landscape to straddle the border between England and Wales. The cross-border Wye Valley AONB Partnership is overseen by a Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) which brings together and advises local residents and businesses, community groups, local authorities and other organisations to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. This is supported by the small dedicated team of the AONB Unit, working from the AONB Office in Monmouth, who co-ordinate projects and initiatives to achieve the statutory AONB Management Plan. you can find a map of the Wye Valley AONB here.
Their work includes:
- Landscape enhancement and protection
- Wildlife conservation and management, with a focus on nature recovery
- Forging partnerships with those who have an impact on the environment
- Finding funding for essential conservation and enhancement work
- Raising awareness of the value of our unique environment, the significance of the designation, the threats and solutions
Precious Peatlands Project at Cleddon Bog
Wye Hedgehogs – Priority Species Project
One of the most magical ways to explore the Wye Valley is on foot. Why not try some or all of the Wye Walk, looked after by the AONB team and partners. Or, if picnics are more your style, here are the AONB recommendations for their favourite viewpoints.
It was the Wye Valley AONB team, back in 2013, who started the Wye Valley River Festival project, realising that arts could communicate about the natural world in a different way, reaching new audiences. Whilst WVRF is now its own organisation, the Wye Valley AONB team remains part of the festival family and continues to offer invaluable support and advice on an ongoing basis. This includes attending our development days, advising on environmental issues and connecting the festival to local and national organisations working to protect the Wye Valley, as well as farmers, community groups and local volunteers.