The popularity of outdoor activities in the UK has grown significantly over the past few years, with the Wye Valley and River a major attraction. The stretch of river from Ross-on-wye to Symonds Yat is a particularly popular destination for canoeists, stand up paddleboarders and wild swimmers. But uncontrolled demand is already damaging the very things that make the area such a draw, and with this comes increased environmental and local community pressures.
At Kerne Bridge the canoe launch, community and environment are struggling to remain in balance due to the growth in visitor numbers, bringing with it increased road and pedestrian traffic, overcrowded car parking facilities, public toilets that can’t cope with the demand, and interference with local community pastimes. This is unsatisfactory for our visitors; frustrating for the community; and increasingly damaging for the environment.
It is time to act before our amenities and environment are damaged significantly. If we in this community don’t do something, no-one else will, because no one else shares the full impact of this damage. A group of like-minded parishioners have drawn up several ideas aimed at restoring and managing a balance between tourism, community, and environment to ensure that each has a long-term sustainable future.
An outline of those ideas has been presented to the Parish Council, who have indicated their support. Clearly the involvement and agreement of stakeholders such as the canoe companies, the launch management company, Parish and Herefordshire councils, AONB, Natural England etc. will be required as a more concrete plan emerges.
But first, we want parishioners’ input and are therefore holding a public meeting to discuss current issues, possible mitigations and begin building a robust plan for future action. The meeting will be held Friday 7th January 2022 7:30pm at Bishopswood Village Hall. Please come along and give us your thoughts and together we can build a better Bishopswood.
Apologies for the change of date which is to accommodate the late publication of the Parish Newsletter.