The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is home to spectacular limestone gorge scenery, intriguing archaeological remains and one of the earliest industrialised landscapes. Herefordshire Council worked with English Heritage, the Earth Heritage Trust, the Woodland Trust, the Forestry Commission, CADW and other partners.
Heralded as the start of British tourism, people have toured the Wye Valley since the 18th century. Yet consultation revealed that while modern day residents and visitors valued the area they were less aware of its rich history.
The project centred on a number of themes: viewpoints, hidden industry, quaysides and hillforts. Restoration to key sites was complemented with improved access and new interpretation, allowing more people to access historic sites and learn more about them.
Legacies of the scheme included the Wye Valley River Festival, which reached over 20,000 people; and the Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust, which was established to care for some of the sites conserved under scheme.
Sue Middleton, Overlooking the Wye scheme manager, concluded: [quote]‘It’s very satisfying when you can see the end result of different organisations working together to conserve historic sites. It’s even better that local residents and visitors appreciate the works’. [/quote]