River Legacy has supported the Symonds Yat Rapid Preservation Group with a donation of £2000, made in March 2011.
The rapids at Symonds Yat, on the River Wye in Herefordshire, were purchased by canoeists for canoeists in order to maintain the rapids which were at risk of being lost for good.
In late 1996 the previous landowners were considering how they could earn money from the Rapids – one of their more favoured options being to dredge them to make them more suitable for fishing. They approached the British Canoe Union (BCU) in Nottingham and offered to lease them the use of the Rapids for £7,000 per annum for the next 3 years.
A crisis meeting of about 50 local paddlers was called to discuss how the BCU should respond. It was the unanimous opinion of those present that taking up the lease was impractical because of the free navigation rights. Raising the money would also have been very difficult and after 3 years there would be nothing to show for it.
However it was agreed by everyone present that it would be in the interests of the sport generally if the Rapids could be bought and preserved in perpetuity for the use of canoeists. To achieve this the Symonds Yat Rapids Preservation Group (SYRPG) was formed made up of senior paddlers from several local Canoe Clubs, the BCU and the WCA. Canoeists now own the River Wye from the upstream limit of the fishery to 304 metres downstream from the head of the island.
For more information on the excellent work undertaken by the Symonds Yat Rapid Preservation Group, please visit their website at http://www.yatrapids.co.uk