'River Voices: Extraordinary Stories from the Wye', is a Heritage Lottery-funded oral history project from Herefordshire Lore. This is the latest book and project from Herefordshire Lore, that has been recording and preserving Herefordshire's oral heritage for nearly 30 years.
'River Voices: Extraordinary Stories from the Wye' started with a chance meeting with a retired ghillie and water bailiff. Over coffee he regaled with his tales of flooded rivers, monster fish, slippery eel, hovercrafts on the Wye, canoeists, and the menace of poachers. Little did he know that he had planted a seed. When Herefordshire Lore were looking for an idea to add to their pantheon of books on local history, the idea of the River Wye came up. Amazingly, little work of this sort had been done on the river. It has been said we are twenty years too late. But it really is better late than never. We have recorded pages and pages of hitherto unheard stories, and collected dozens of photographs, letters, diaries and other Wye miscellania We have created a body of work that, presented in the book, gives the memories and stories of 'ordinary' people their rightful place in history. We thank them enormously.
To everyone who goes out to buy a lottery ticket or scratch card, in the eternal hope that this time it really might be a winner, we thank you. Through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund this project has been able to go ahead. And we have achieved something quite special. Part of the project including searching old photographs of the Wye and its people. We decided to commission a photographer to take portraits of our interviewees. Panasonic ambassador Emma Drabble did an incredible job capturing the essence of our interviewees. They were put on display at a project celebratory event at the Hereford Archive and Record Centre (HARC), and we had over 120 people come along to view the exhibition. Some of the photos can be seen on the website. All audio recordings and their transcripts have been deposited with HARC as a resource for future generations and to ensure these wonderful stories from the Wye will not be lost.