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Celebrations for the nation's favourite river

Last modified: 21 December 2010

Bridge over River Wye

Image: Wye and Usk Foundation

The Wye has been given an early Christmas present to celebrate being voted the nation’s favourite river.

The river came top in a public vote earlier this year ahead of the Thames, The Dart in Devon, The Great Ouse in East Anglia and The Wandle which runs into London. The award was organised by the Our Rivers campaign - backed by the RSPB, WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association.

A plaque to mark the honour is officially handed over this week to members of the Wye and Usk Foundation, the conservation charity which cares for the river. A short film by respected wildlife cameraman Hugh Miles was also unveiled to celebrate the award.

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Ralph Underhill from the Our Rivers campaign said: 'We were really pleased with the response from the public when we launched this award to find the nation’s favourite river, a lot of people out there are very passionate about their local river.

'The Wye was always a frontrunner for the award, with its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife, so we’re delighted to be handing this award to the Wye and Usk Foundation who do so much to protect it.

'We also wanted to create something which would showcase The Wye in all its glory, from the darting kingfishers along its banks to the pike hunting on the river bed. This film gives you a real glimpse into this vibrant ecosystem – and illustrates what we could achieve across the rest of the UK if the Government acts to protect our rivers from the many threats they face.'

Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith, director of the Wye and Usk Foundation said: 'This award is a very great boost for everyone involved in conservation of the river.

'However, it comes as no great surprise as the Wye has features of interest for everyone: rowers, canoeists, anglers, walkers, nature lovers and anyone with an eye for scenic beauty. Thank you to all those who voted.'

As well as highlighting the nation’s favourite rivers – the awards also emphasised the threats many rivers face including pollution from agriculture, sewage discharges, over abstraction and invasive species. The Thames was voted the country’s worst river ahead of The Kennet in Wiltshire, The Mersey, The Lea in Hertfordshire and The Trent.

Following the success of the awards the Our River campaign is set to return in 2011 when it will be putting further pressure on decision makers to protect river wildlife.

How you can help

If you feel passionately that we need to make decisions today that will safeguard nature into the future, then please sign the Letter to the Future and together we can make the world a richer place.

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