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Last Updated:  Saturday, 15 March, 2003, 17:44 GMT
River rapids sold to canoeists
Paul Ratcliffe, champion canoeist
The rapids are popular with canoeists
Top canoeists from across the UK are set to benefit from a successful move to buy an important stretch of rapids on the River Wye.

The popular Symonds Yat rapids on the Welsh border near Monmouth were the focus of a four-year long bid by the British Canoe Union.

The Environment Agency has supported the bid for the 340-metre stretch of whitewater to provide canoeists from Wales and England with a top quality site.

The BCU's appeal to buy the rapids was completed this week when the Environment Agency contributed 50,000 to add to the union's fund of 25,000.

The rapids are popular with groups such as Croesyceiliog Canoe Club, based near Cwmbran, which has been supportive of the scheme.

River Wye
The River Wye offers a range of canoeing conditions

According to the club's website, work is under way to design canoeing facilities, including seeking permission for access platforms.

The scheme has involved ensuring the project is environmentally friendly, which has meant English Nature carrying out an invertebrate study.

Hundreds of canoeists from across Wales and the UK joined in the fund-raising campaign to buy the rapids by donating small amounts.

The rapids have been used for water sports for 60 years and are used by thousands of canoeists to train for tournaments and pleasure each year.

Martin Mills, the area manager for the Environment Agency South East Wales, said: "Symonds Yat is heavily used already by a wide variety of canoeists of all ages.

'Valued site'

"The agency's investment reflects its commitment to increasing provisions for recreation on the Wye especially for young people.

"It will also allow more sustainable activities on the Wye and create opportunities for...fishing, at this important site.

"BCU ownership of the site will also allow them to invest additional resources over time to improve access and the surrounding area."

Paul Owen from the BCU said: "I am delighted that we have been able to secure this important national site. I would like to thank the agency for recognising this site's long-term value to canoeing."

UK river quality survey
20 Apr 01 |  UK News

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