Litter Clear-ups


The Foundation carried out its first organised litter clearances in 2004 and 2005 when groups of volunteers and staff from WUF and Keep Wales Tidy were involved in several exercises on the upper reaches of both rivers. Analysis of origins of the litter collected from these first efforts was revealing - that a high percentage of the litter (up to 76%) was from agriculture, usually in the form of silage wrap, feed bags/buckets and baler twine. Further single site clear-ups were carried out over the next four or five years but in 2010, Tony Norman (one of WUF's Trustees), took on the considerable challenge of organising the first large-scale litter clean-up exercise with an ambitious goal of clearing the whole Lugg and Arrow catchment in 10 weeks. Starting in March 2011, Tony and 220 volunteers from conservation organisations, government bodies, NGOs, fishing clubs, canoe groups, local councils and others collected 671 sacks of litter and single items from the riverbanks. They also removed larger objects such as tyres, feed buckets, chairs, beds, a saddle and even a children's swimming pool and surf board. Powys County Council also removed 30 tons of rubbish from a Highways Agency depot on the banks of the Lugg in Presteigne, most of which would have eventually been washed downstream. They also took measures to prevent the site being used as a tip in the future. In all, over 100 miles of river was cleared.

Spurred on by this success, Tony then turned his attention to the upper Wye where he started a similar project in February 2012. Over 12 weeks, 123 volunteers, organised by Tony and WUF with support from Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) and the RiverWye Preservation Trust (RWPT), removed litter from the river's source at Pumlumon (Plynlimon) downstream to Builth Wells and beyond, including the tributary streams. They collected 647 sacks of litter and larger items were removed from 103 miles of river and stream, including objects such as a car radiator, a lawnmower and a deep freeze. Even more worryingly, several drums containing agricultural and mechanical chemicals that damage the aquatic environment were also found. The collected litter was picked up and, where possible, recycled by Powys County Council.

Later in 2012, WUF, volunteers and Keep Wales Tidy got together with a group of canoeists to clean up the river Usk between Sennybridge and Brynich Lock, below Brecon.

From February to May 2013 Tony Norman and his volunteers braved the extremely harsh spring weather and took to the Wye between Builth and Hay, the Irfon, Ithon and other tributaries along the way. Again, support came from The Wye Preservation Trust and Keep Wales Tidy while Powys County Council picked up all the litter collected and, where possible, recycled it.

The litter clearing continued in 2014, despite the extreme wet conditions at the start of the year, on the Wye between Hay and Luggsmouth and the Monnow catchment, while various other areas of the catchments were revisited. In 2015 Tony and the volunteers tackled the rest of the Wye, from Luggsbridge down to Beachley Point near Chepstow. This completed an 11 year project with some statistics that were both impressive and worrying ...

Over 1,100 miles of river bank cleared....
By over 1,117 volunteers spending nearly 5,386 hours....
Collecting 4,171 sacks of litter and other items....
61% of which were of agricultural origin in number, although nearer 90% in volume and weight.

Please click here for a map showing the area of river cleared since 2004.

Details of the 2015 clear up can be found by clicking on the button in the top right of this page. This is not the end of our efforts to keep the rivers as litter free as possible. We would be delighted to hear from anyone willing to help out in future projects. If you can spare a few hours, please contact the Foundation on 01874 711 714 or email us.

Our thanks go to all those individuals and organisations that have helped in our litter clean-ups. It is extremely important that litter is not strewn along riverbanks - click here to see why.

We are very grateful for the support from our Partners in these litter clear-ups:

Amey Gwent Angling Society Paddles & Pedals
Angling Dreams Hereford and District Angling Club Pheasant Tail Fly Fishers
Angling Trust Hereford Canoe Club Pembridge Volunteers
Arrow Kyakers Herefordshire County Council Powys County Council
Balfour Beatty Herefordshire Nature Trust Prince Albert Angling Society
Brecon Canoe Club Ingestone Fishery Radnorshire Wildlife Trust
Brecon Nature Trust Keep Wales Tidy Rhayader Angling Club
Caradoc Estate Kington Fishing Club River Wye Preservation Trust
Carrots Fishery Kington Kleen Club Ross on Wye Angling Club
Clochfaen Estate Llandrindod Wells AC Severn Trent
Colleys Surveryors (part of Lloyds Bank) Llanwrtyd Wells Volunteers Telereal Trillium Volunteers
Doldowlod Estate Llysdinam Estate Tregate Anglers
Environment Agency (Wales) Lugg and Arrow Fisheries Association Upper Arrow Fishing Syndicate
Fish Legal Midland Fly Fishers Whitney on Wye Fishing Syndicate
Forest of Dean Council Moccas Estate Wye Canoes
Garway Angling Club Monmouth and District Angling Society Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty
Glanwye Fishery Monmouth Canoe Club Wye Salmon Association
Golden Mile and Sheepwash Fishery Monmouthsire County Council Wyebank and Courtfield Fishery
Golden Valley Fish & Wildlife Association Monnow Rivers Association Wyesham Fishery
Groe Park and Irfon Angling Club Natural Resources Wales 5 Wells Walkers
Gromain, Llanstephan and Rectory Fishery Nyth Syndicate  

... and many, many other groups and individuals.