The 2015 Wye Litter Pick

Litter Diary

Monday 27th April:

The 2015 clean-up is complete! The final litter pick took place at Beachley Point, Chepstow today. Volunteers from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and WUF removed a final 34 bags from the area where the Wye enters the Severn Estuary. Afterwards, representatives from the Wye Preservation Trust, Angling Trust/Fish Legal (AT/FL), Keep Wales Tidy and Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty joined the party for a ceremony to "hand over" the river. From here the MCS and AT/FL will continue the litter pick in the estuary and beyond.

This completes an 11-year project in which more than a thousand volunteers have removed 111 tonnes of rubbish from over a thousand miles of river bank. In addition to the unsightly litter removed from the river, we hope that the project will encourage people not to discard litter and to clear up any that they find. The project has also been useful to highlight the unseen pollutants entering our rivers.

Our thanks to Tony Norman, the WUF Trustee who has put so much of his free time into organising the clearances for the past 5 years and to the huge number of organisations and individuals who have helped and supported the project since 2004.

Friday 24th April:

Two major clear-ups took place in the penultimate week of the 2015 project. The first was on Thursday 23rd when volunteers from the Angling Trust and Fish Legal tackled the Llynfi and Llynfi Dulas, near Talgarth. The Llynfi is a Wye tributary that flows out of Llangorse lake before joining the main river at Glasbury (Aberllynfi). The AT/FL team removed 29 bags of litter and numerous other objects, including 2 picnic tables.
Also out were a group of 14 from Colleys Surveyors (part of Lloyds Bank) who cleared the Wye Valley Walk from Tintern downstream to the old bridge in Chepstow.

Monday 20th April:

There has been plenty of activity to report on in weeks 11 and 12 of the project. Teams of volunteers have been out on the banks of the lower Wye at Tintern, at Chepstow and in the Redbrook/Bigsweir area. Gwent Wildlife Trust also tackled another 6 miles of the Trothy with 9 volunteers, clearing 28 bags of litter and several other items, including a gruesome find of a heap of dead pigeons.

A group of 6 canoeists have also cleared the in-river litter between Hoarwithy and Ross, collecting 15 sacks plus assorted other items. Elsewhere, clear-ups have taken place on the Dore, the Monnow and the upper Wye at Llanstephan.

We are now entering the final week of the 2015 project with only 3 more clean-ups taking place. After the final one on Monday 27th April, a ceremonial hand-over of the river to the Marine Conservation Society and the Angling Trust/Fish Legal to continue the project to the estuary and beyond.

Monday 6th April:

Further progress was made last week with several more miles of riverbank on the lower Wye covered. We are now approaching the end of the 2015 project and will finish the as yet un-cleared river in the remaining 5 days out. The final day will involve the Wye & Usk Foundation "handing over" the river to the Marine Conservation Society and Angling Trust.

Monday 30th March:

In the last week 52 volunteers have picked up an amazing 160 bags/large items of rubbish from 11 different places in the catchment. This is the tenth week of the 2015 project with 4 weeks to go - then the undergrowth beats us and the birds are nesting (and some of us want to go fishing!).
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get near the tidal banks of the river so we shall continue downstream along the Wye Valley Path, Offas Dyke path and any other paths that take us there. We shall attempt to clear any laybys, car parks and tourist spots, as we go.

Monday 23rd March:

We are making steady progress with 119 miles of river bank cleared, so far this year. With a total bag/item count over the whole project reaching well over 3,500. Further reports come in almost daily of new stretches of river bank being done or stretches covered in previous years being redone. This seems to be the year of electrical equipment with microwaves, cookers, deep freezes, computers, phones and batteries all being represented.

In the last week groups of canoeists from Hereford Canoe Group, Canoe The Wye & Ross on Wye Canoe Hire have tackles stretches in the Fownhope and Ross areas, picking litter and other items inaccessible to the bank teams that went through a few weeks ago. In other parts of the catchment, a team from Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and KWT cleared the Knobley Brook at Burfa and another group was again out on the river Arrow.

Friday 13th March:
Several parties were out this week, taking the total bank length cleared in the 2015 clear up to 91 miles. A group of 6 from Wye Canoes were out covering the river from Kerne Bridge to Monmouth Bridge, collecting 15 bags of litter and, amongst other things, a bag of dead pheasants. Meanwhile, members Monmouth Angling Club were out clearing four miles of the Trothy. In perhaps the most dramatic clear up so far, climbers from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust were out clearing the cliffs overlooking the Wye at Wintours Leap, just upstream of Chepstow. Photos of their efforts can be seen on the trust's Facebook page.

Monday 9th March:
A large group of volunteers were out on Saturday tackling the 3 mile section of river from Symonds Yat down to Wyastone Crown. 16 people turned out to collect 52 bags of litter. Amongst the other items recovered were a council bin! This, along with other clearances, has taken us to just above Monmouth, a total of 80 miles of river bank cleared since the start of February.

Wednesday 4th March:
Clear-ups on Saturday 28th Feb and Tuesday 3rd March took the us as down to a mile below Kerne Bridge. So far the 2015 event has covered 56 miles of riverbank.

Wednesday 25th February:
Two outings by volunteers on Saturday 21st and Tuesday 24th took the length of river completed to the bottom end of Backney, a few miles upstream of Ross, taking the total bank length cleared in the 2015 clean up to 40 miles. A further 35 sacks of litter and other items were collected.

By Saturday we will have cleared the Wye from Luggsmouth down to Ross with 70 + volunteers having shifted over 200 bags of rubbish and large items.

Fishing tackle found so far this year: 2 landing nets; bait feeders; huge pike 'wobbler'; numerous stick floats and a florescent pike float. No rods this year (yet).

2 teams have agreed to do the Trothy - The Monmouth Fishing Club will clear their 4 miles at the lowest end and the Gwent Wildlife Trust will have a go higher up. The various canoe teams nearly have it all covered from Hereford down to the tide.
However, there is one section vacant-- From Ross down to Kerne bridge. Anyone who could organise a canoe team to do this please let me know. In the section from Ross to Monmouth several fishing Clubs/syndicates/owners have agreed to do their own lengths of bank. A joint AONB/EA/NRW day should see a large turnout and hopefully a long length of river cleaned up that day. Further work has been done on lengths we have done in previous years.

Tuesday 17th February:
Progress has continued at a good pace with 2 large teams out today and over the weekend, completing a 11 more miles of riverbank. We are now approaching the Ross area and have removed another 45 sacks of rubbish and other items.

Wednesday 11th February:
Teams were out over the weekend and the early part of the week tackling the remaining stretch of the Wye between Fownhope and Hoarwithy. Taking advantage of the dry weather and with only 11 days of the 2015 clean up gone, great progress has been made. The river from Luggsbridge to Hoarwithy Bridge (some 20 miles) of riverbank has been cleared. In addition, there have been extra clean ups on the upper Wye at Erwood, the upper Lugg at Pilleth, a section of the Edw and further efforts on the Arrow. In total, 46 miles of riverbank has so far been cleared, with 98 sacks of litter and other items removed.

Wednesday 5th Feb:
Well, we have started the 2015 Wye litter pick! A little band of six people went upstream and downstream from Fownhope to cover 3.5 miles of river bank, collecting 15 bags, 1 tyre, 1 large traffic cone and 2 containers. This, together with others that have agreed to do their lengths, takes both banks down 4 miles from Holme Lacy (Evans Pit) Bridge.

Elsewhere in the catchment a group have redone a 6 mile length of the Arrow downstream of Kington, removing 11 bags, 12 x 5-gallon drums, a traffic bollard, a large composter, 2 large pieces of plastic and 1 tyre. Several groups have again volunteered to 're-do' their lengths that we have already been cleared over the last few years.

Most unusual find so far this year - a spot in the river with dozens of golf balls - mostly battered but a few new ones! We have had tremendous support for the project with many fishers, clubs, syndicates and owners clearing their own stretches. Several groups of canoes have agreed to clear rubbish from lengths of water too. Numerous individuals and groups have been in touch to offer to help out over the next 3 months, which is all great. Thank you and we look forward to working with you over the coming weeks and months.