The results of the Our Rivers campaign vote for best and worst rivers in England and Wales are in. While I have to swallow my disappointment that my promotion of the Great Stour in Kent has clearly failed to swing the vote – the Wye is clearly a fantastic winner. It’s award is the second bit of good news the river has had in the last few weeks – it is a tributary of the Severn and had the Severn barrage proposal gone forward the iconic salmon run up the Wye would have been at serious risk.
The Wye (pictured) – which straddles the England-Wales border and has inspired artists and composers – was chosen for its iconic beauty, and abundance of wildlife. Voters described it as ‘magical and timeless’, ‘a haven for wildlife’ and a place ‘to get lost and slow down’.
Watch our film on The Wye.
The awards have been organised by the Our Rivers campaign - backed by the RSPB, WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association - to celebrate the nation’s rivers and highlight the threats to river wildlife. Thousands of votes have been cast (and if you one of the contributors, thanks) and the feedback reinforces the campaign’s view that our rivers are at the heart inspirational landscapes cherished by many of us.
The Thames had the dubious honour of being voted the worst river.
Voters highlighted problems on The Thames, such as the levels of sewage discharge and run off pollution from London streets. Comments left by visitors to the Our Rivers website include, ‘People don’t care about the river, they are not grateful’, ‘It’s a filthy excuse of a river’ and it suffers from ‘hundreds of years of lack of investment in sewage infrastructure’.
Many voters, however, put The Thames as their favourite river and it came second in the best rivers category ahead of The Dart in Devon, The Great Ouse in East Anglia and The Wandle which joins The Thames at Wandsworth. It was followed in the worst rivers category by The Kennet in Wiltshire, The Mersey, The Lea in Hertfordshire and The Trent.
Follow me on twitter.