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The River Wye
River Wye
(Welsh: Afon Gwy) is the fifth-longest river in the UK, stretching some 215 kilometres (134 miles) from its source on Plynlimon
Plynlimon
in mid Wales
Wales
to the Severn
Severn
estuary. For much of its length the river forms part of the border between England
England
and Wales. The Wye Valley (lower part) is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[1][2] The Wye is important for nature conservation and recreation.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Description 3 Conservation

3.1 Salmon

4 History 5 Navigation and sport 6 Tributaries 7 Cultural references 8 Views of the river 9 Bridges on the river 10 See also 11 References 12 Sources 13 Further reading 14 External links

Etymology[edit] The Wye's Latin name is Vaga, an adjective meaning 'wandering'.[3][4][5] The Tithe map references a Vagas Field in both Whitchurch and Chepstow.[6] The modern Welsh name Gwy may be derived from old Welsh Gwybiol or Gwyr (crooked wandering hills).[7] Description[edit] The source of the Wye is in the Welsh mountains at Plynlimon. It flows through or past several towns and villages including Rhayader, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford
Hereford
(the only city on the River Wye), Ross-on-Wye, Symonds Yat, Monmouth
Monmouth
and Tintern, meeting the Severn estuary just below Chepstow. Its total length is 134 miles (216 km).[8] The lower 16 miles (26 km) of the river from Redbrook
Redbrook
to Chepstow
Chepstow
forms the border between England
England
and Wales. Conservation[edit]

River Wye
River Wye
(Lower Wye)

Site of Special
Special
Scientific Interest

Grid reference ST544912 to SO230429

Interest Biological/Geological

Area England: 1,159.6 ha (2,865 acres) Wales: 245.2 ha (606 acres) Total: 1,404.8 ha (3,471 acres)

Notification 1978

Natural England
England
website

The River Wye
River Wye
forms two Sites of Special
Special
Scientific Interest, one covering the Upper Wye (Gwy Uchaf) above Hay-on-Wye,[9] and one covering the Lower Wye (Gwy Isaf) downstream to Chepstow.[10] The criteria for inclusion of the river as an SSSI include geology, topography, flora, mammals, invertebrates, fish and birdlife, as the river and its tributaries constitute a large linear ecosystem. The Lower Wye SSSI is itself divided into seven units of assessment set by Natural England, and administrative responsibilities are shared between the county authorities of Powys, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Monmouthshire.[10] The Wye abuts a range of other SSSIs in England
England
and Wales, including the Upper Wye Gorge
Upper Wye Gorge
and Lower Wye Gorge. It is also a Special
Special
Area of Conservation[11][12] and one of the most important rivers in the UK for nature conservation. It is an important migration route and wildlife corridor, as well as a key breeding area for many nationally and internationally important species. The river supports a range of species and habitats covered by European Directives and those listed under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.[10] In Powys
Powys
the river lies within the Radnorshire Environmentally Sensitive Area. Much of the lower valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Salmon[edit] The Lower Wye has been designated as a salmonid fishery under the EC Freshwater Fish Directive.[10] The Wye is largely unpolluted and used to be considered[by whom?] one of the best rivers for salmon fishing in the United Kingdom, outside Scotland. In the 1980s and 1990s salmon in the Wye declined dramatically. In 1967 the Wye rod catch was 7,864, and as recently as 1988 it was 6,401; but by 2002 it was only 357. It is now recovering from this low in response to the extensive habitat improvement work carried out by the Wye and Usk Foundation, set up to restore the spring salmon runs. In 2015 the five-year average once again climbed above 1,000 and it is now the third best salmon river in England
England
and Wales, surpassed only by the Tyne and Wear.[citation needed] The Wye was particularly famous for its large "spring" salmon that had spent three or more years at sea before returning to spawn. They used to enter the river between January and June and sometimes reached weights of over 50 pounds (23 kg), the largest recorded being 59 lb 8 oz (27.0 kg) landed after a long fight by Miss Doreen Davey from the Cowpond Pool at Winforton on 13 March 1923. The last recorded 50 lb (23 kg) rod-caught salmon from the Wye was taken in 1963 by Donald Parrish and weighed 51 lb 8 oz (23.4 kg). Since the early 2000s the spring catch has been steadily recovering and salmon of over 35 lb (16 kg) have been reported every year since 2011. History[edit]

The Wye at Chepstow, showing the castle and the road bridge linking Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
(on the left) with Gloucestershire

The Romans constructed a bridge of wood and stone just upstream of present-day Chepstow. The River Wye
River Wye
was and still is navigable up to Monmouth
Monmouth
at least since the early 14th century. It was improved from there to a short distance below Hereford
Hereford
by Sir William Sandys in the early 1660s with locks to enable vessels to pass weirs. According to Herefordshire
Herefordshire
Council Archaeology, these were flash locks.[13] The work proved to be insufficiently substantial and in 1696 a further Act of Parliament authorised the County of Hereford
Hereford
to buy up and demolish the mills on the Wye and Lugg. All locks and weirs were removed, except that at New Weir forge below Goodrich, which survived until about 1815. This was paid for by a tax on the county. Weirs were removed all along the Wye in Herefordshire, making the river passable to the western boundary, and beyond it at least to Hay on Wye. A horse towing path was added in 1808, but only up to Hereford; previously, as on the River Severn, barges were man-hauled. Money was spent several times improving the River Lugg
River Lugg
from Leominster
Leominster
to its confluence with the Wye at Mordiford, but its navigation is likely to have been difficult. The Wye remained commercially navigable until the 1850s, when commercial traffic moved to railways. It is still used by pleasure craft. In 2017 MORE than 600 people took to the River Wye
River Wye
in inflatables ranging from dinghies to paddling pools during the event WYE FLOAT, opened by former Olympic ski jumper Eddie the Eagle.[14] Navigation and sport[edit]

Kayaking
Kayaking
near Hay-on-Wye

The Environment Agency
Environment Agency
is the navigation authority for the river. The Normal Tidal Limit (NTL) of the river is Bigsweir and navigation below this point is under the control of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees as Competent Harbour Authority. There is a public right of navigation downstream from Hay-on-Wye.[15] Canoes are generally permitted at and downstream of Glasbury, so long as they do not disturb anglers.[16]

A railway poster advertising the Wye Valley
Wye Valley
as a tourist destination. Date is before 1942.

The River Wye
River Wye
provides for canoeing and kayaking as it has sections suitable for all ranges of skills and free access all the way downstream from Hay to Hereford
Hereford
and Monmouth, and the tidal Wye to Chepstow
Chepstow
and the Severn
Severn
Estuary.[17] There are a wide range of canoe hire and supervised trips, as well as campsites at key points on the river. Symonds Yat
Symonds Yat
has a particularly popular series of rapids that was purchased by the British Canoe
Canoe
Union in 2003 to preserve the rapids for recreational use, canoe trips through the rapids stop next at Monmouth.[18] There are three rowing clubs on the river at Hereford, Ross-on-Wye
Ross-on-Wye
and Monmouth. Annual regattas are held at Ross-on-Wye
Ross-on-Wye
and Monmouth
Monmouth
for rowers and scullers of all abilities, next to the local rowing club. Walkers can enjoy the Wye Valley
Wye Valley
Walk which follows the route of the River Wye
River Wye
from Coed Hafren, near Plynlimon, to Chepstow
Chepstow
along a series of well-maintained way-marked paths. A viewpoint near The Biblins on the Wye is known as 'Three Counties View', the meeting place of the counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and Monmouthshire. Tributaries[edit] The Wye's tributaries include the river Lugg, Elan, Dulas, Irfon, Marteg, Monnow, Trothy, Ithon, Llynfi, Letton Lake, Tarennig (the Wye's first tributary) and Bidno. This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. Cultural references[edit] The Romantic poet William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
includes an apostrophe to the Wye in his famous poem "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern
Tintern
Abbey" published 1798 in Lyrical Ballads:

How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee!

Nelson travelled down the Wye in 1802, along with Lady Hamilton
Lady Hamilton
and her husband, Sir William Hamilton.[19] They sailed from Ross-on-Wye
Ross-on-Wye
to Monmouth, to be greeted by a cannonade and the band of the Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
Militia playing See, the Conquering Hero Comes.[19] Nelson expressed surprise that he was known at "such a little gut of a river as the Wye".[19] Views of the river[edit]

Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire

Ross-on-Wye

Water transport at Symonds Yat

St Peter's Church, Dixton

Landscape with View on the River Wye
River Wye
by Thomas Jones

Eagle's Nest, Wyndcliff

A steam hauled stone train crossing the River Wye
River Wye
after departing from Tintern
Tintern
railway station in 1963

Bridges on the river[edit] See also: List of crossings of the River Wye

The old railway bridge at Redbrook

Monmouth
Monmouth
Viaduct and Duke of Beaufort Bridge at Monmouth

Bigsweir Bridge

Chepstow
Chepstow
Castle and bridge

Brockweir Bridge

Biblins Bridge

Wye Bridge, Monmouth

Wilton Bridge, Ross on Wye

Chepstow
Chepstow
Bridge at very high tide

Backney Bridge, near Backney Halt, demolished under the Beeching Axe.

Victoria Bridge, Hereford

River Wye
River Wye
estuary and M48 Wye road bridge

See also[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap · Google Maps

Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

Wye Valley Wye Valley
Wye Valley
Walk Wye Valley
Wye Valley
Railway List of rivers of England List of rivers of Wales List of bridges in Wales South Herefordshire
Herefordshire
and Over Severn

References[edit]

^ "Natural England
England
information on AONBs and map". Natural England. Retrieved 5 October 2012.  ^ "Natural England
England
information on Wye Valley
Wye Valley
AONB". Natural England. Archived from the original on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2012.  ^ Richard Lovell Edgeworth; Maria Edgeworth (1816). Readings on Poetry. R. Hunter. p. 3.  ^ Izaak Walton (1833). The Complete Angler ; Or, Contemplative Man's Recreation; Being a Discourse on Rivers, Ponds, Fish and Fishing. With Lives and Notes. Peter Pauper Press. p. 249.  ^ J. Thompson (12 March 2015). John Thelwall: Selected Poetry and Poetics. Springer. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-137-34483-0.  ^ The Tithe map (1844) ^ David Hancocks, Dean Archaeology No. 11, 1998 p39 ISSN 0954-8874 ^ Sue Owen et al., (2005). Colin Pooley, ed. Rivers and the British Landscape. Carnegie Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85936-120-7.  ^ "Countryside Council for Wales
Wales
Landscape & wildlife statement for River Wye
River Wye
(Upper Wye) / Afon Gwy (Gwy Uchaf)". Countryside Council for Wales. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2012.  ^ a b c d "Natural England
England
SSSI information on River Wye
River Wye
(Lower Wye) or Afon Gwy (Gwy Isaf) SDdGA – citation, maps and unit details". Natural England. Retrieved 18 August 2012.  ^ "Information on River Wye
River Wye
Special Area of Conservation
Special Area of Conservation
designation". DEFRA. Retrieved 20 September 2012.  ^ "Joint Nature Conservation Committee Listing of Special
Special
Areas of Conservation". DEFRA. Retrieved 20 September 2012.  ^ I. Cohen. "The Non-tidal Wye and its Navigation (from Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club, 1958 pg 86–94)". Retrieved 9 December 2006.  ^ www.herefordtimes.com/news/15472136.PHOTOS__2017_Wye_Float/ ^ "Wye canoe?" (PDF). Environment Agency. Upstream of Hay Bridge, the river can provide some good canoeing water but there is no established public right of navigation.  ^ " Canoeing
Canoeing
in the Area". Hay-on-Wye
Hay-on-Wye
Tourist Information Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2013.  ^ "Boating along the River Wye". Waterscape. Retrieved 10 April 2012.  ^ "River rapids sold to canoeists". BBC News. 15 March 2003. Retrieved 22 May 2010.  ^ a b c Kissack 1975, p. 251.

Sources[edit]

Kissack, Keith (1975). Monmouth: The Making of a County Town. Chichester: Phillimore. OCLC 255539468. 

Further reading[edit]

Cohen, I. "The non-tidal Wye and its navigation", Trans. Woolhope Nat. Fld. Club, 34 (1955), pp. 83–101. Stockinger, V. (1996) The Rivers Wye and Lugg Navigation: A Documentary History 1555–1951, Logaston Press, ISBN 978-18-738-27895 King, P. "The River Teme
River Teme
and Other Midlands River Navigations", Journal of Railway and Canal Historical Society, 35, 50 (July 2006), pp. 350–1.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Wye". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to River Wye.

The River Wye
River Wye
described from Source to Sea Natural England
England
(SSSI information) Countryside Council for Wales
Wales
(SSSI information) The Wye and Usk Foundation conservation charity Canoeists' guide to the River Wye River Wye
River Wye
Preservation Trust

v t e

River Severn, Great Britain

Administrative areas

Powys Shropshire Worcestershire Gloucestershire Monmouthshire South Gloucestershire Bristol North Somerset Somerset Newport Cardiff Vale of Glamorgan

Settlements

Llanidloes Newtown Welshpool Shrewsbury Ironbridge Bridgnorth Bewdley Stourport Worcester Tewkesbury Gloucester Berkeley Chepstow Avonmouth

Major tributaries

River Vyrnwy River Tern Cound Brook River Stour River Teme Warwickshire Avon River Wye Bristol
Bristol
Avon River Usk

Flows into

Severn
Severn
Estuary Bristol
Bristol
Channel

Linked canals

Staffordshire and Worcestershire Worcester
Worcester
and Birmingham Droitwich Herefordshire
Herefordshire
and Gloucestershire Thames and Severn Coalport Gloucester
Gloucester
and Sharpness Stroudwater Navigation Coombe Hill

Major crossings

Welsh Bridge English Bridge The Iron Bridge Mythe Bridge Over Bridge Severn
Severn
Bridge Aust Severn
Severn
Powerline Crossing Severn
Severn
Tunnel Second Severn
Severn
Crossing All crossings of the River Severn

Longest UK rivers

Severn Thames Trent Great Ouse Wye Ure/Ouse Tay Spey Clyde Tweed Avon Nene Eden Dee

v t e

Biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
in Gloucestershire

Summarised data for all sites (biological and geological)

Ashleworth Ham Astridge Wood Badgeworth Barnsley Warren Barton Bushes Bigsweir Woods Blaisdon Hall Bourton Down Box Farm Meadows Boxwell Brassey Brooks Head Grove Buckshraft Mine & Bradley Railway Tunnel Bull Cross, The Frith and Juniper Hill Bushley Muzzard, Brimpsfield Caerwood and Ashberry Goose House Chaceley Meadow Clarke's Pool Meadow Cleeve Common Cockleford Marsh Collinpark Wood Coombe Hill Canal Coombe Hill Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods Cotswold Water Park Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake Daneway Banks Dean Hall Coach House & Cellar Devil's Chapel Scowles Dingle Wood Dixton Wood Dymock Woods Edge Common Elmlea Meadows Frampton Pools Highbury Wood Hobbs Quarry Hornsleasow Roughs Hucclecote Meadows Innsworth Meadow Juniper Hill, Edgeworth Kempley Daffodil Meadow Kingscote and Horsley Woods Lark Wood Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common Lineover Wood Lower Woods Lower Wye Gorge May Hill Midger Minchinhampton Common Nagshead Old Bow and Old Ham Mines Old River Severn, Upper Lode Pennsylvania Fields, Sedbury Poor's Allotment Puckham Woods Range Farm Fields River Wye Rodborough Common Rough Bank, Miserden Salmonsbury Meadows Selsley
Selsley
Common Severn
Severn
Estuary Severn
Severn
Ham, Tewkesbury Shorn Cliff and Caswell Woods Slade Brook Soudley Ponds Speech House Oaks Stenders Quarry Stinchcombe
Stinchcombe
Hill Strawberry Banks Swanpool Wood and Furnace Grove Swift's Hill Sylvan House Barn The Hudnalls The Malvern Hills Tudor Farm Bank Turvey's Piece Upper Severn
Severn
Estuary Upham Meadow and Summer Leasow Upper Wye Gorge Walmore Common Westbury Brook Ironstone Mine Whelford Meadow Wigpool Ironstone Mine Wildmoorway Meadows Winson Meadows Woodchester Park Workman's Wood Wotton Hill Yarley Meadows

Neighbouring areas Avon Hereford
Hereford
and Worcester Oxfordshire Wiltshire

v t e

Geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
in Gloucestershire

Summarised data for all sites (biological and geological)

Alderton Hill Quarry Bull Cross, The Frith and Juniper Hill Campden Tunnel Gravel Pit Cleeve Common Coaley Wood Quarries Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake Easter Park Farm Quarry Edgehills Quarry Foss Cross Quarry Garden Cliff Hampen Railway Cutting Haresfield Beacon Harford Railway Cutting Hobbs Quarry Hornsleasow Quarry Huntsman's Quarry Jackdaw Quarry Kemble Railway Cuttings Knap House Quarry, Birdlip Land Grove Quarry, Mitcheldean Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common Longhope Hill Lower Woods Lower Wye Gorge Lydney Cliff May Hill Meezy Hurst Minchinhampton Common New Park Quarry Nibley Knoll Notgrove Railway Cutting Oakenhill Railway Cutting Puddlebrook Quarry River Wye Robin's Wood Hill Quarry Rodborough Common Salmonsbury Meadows Scully Grove Quarry Severn
Severn
Estuary Slade Brook Stenders Quarry Stony Furlong Railway Cutting Swift's Hill Upper Severn
Severn
Estuary The Malvern Hills Purton Passage Selsley
Selsley
Common Upper Wye Gorge Veizey's Quarry Wainlode Cliff Wellacre Quarry Wood Green Quarry & Railway Cutting Wotton Hill

Neighbouring areas Avon Hereford
Hereford
and Worcester Oxfordshire Wiltshire

v t e

Transport in Monmouthshire

Road

M4 motorway European route E30 M48 motorway A40 road A449 road A465 road A472 road A4042 road A4136 road

Bus

Stagecoach South Wales Stagecoach West Newport Bus

National Cycle Network

Celtic Trail National Cycle Route 4 National Cycle Route 47 National Cycle Route 42

Railway lines

South Wales
Wales
Main Line Gloucester–Newport line Welsh Marches line

Railway stations

Abergavenny Caldicot Chepstow Severn
Severn
Tunnel Junction

Waterways

Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
and Brecon Canal River Wye

Authority control

LCCN: sh85148701 BNF:

.