People and Mills of the Wye

People and Mills of the Wye

People and Mills of the Wye aims to connect people with the local urban community living alongside the river to help increase understanding and protection of the river.

The River Wye historically was an important part of the Chilterns Landscape, providing a source of food, water, transport and eventually power for the local communities.

Mills along the Wye were used for grinding corn into flour, thickening and cleaning paper and sawing wood from the Chiltern forest’s. By 1816 there were over 30 mills along the Wye, however, only one is left standing today.

As a chalk stream, the Wye is an important habitat for wildlife, and helping local communities understand it’s heritage can help to protect and conserve this niche environment.

River Wye Interpretation Panels

As part of this project, 9 new interpretations panels have been installed along the River Wye. Volunteers researched the Wye’s habitat, wildlife, heritage and history to create these informative signs.

This project was a combined effort of many organisations and run by Chiltern Rangers – to see all those involved and copies of the panels themselves click hereLeaflets were also created to accompany the panels.

Download the leaflet

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Copies of the Interpretation Panels for the River Wye Panel Launch


We had various River Wye- related events run by Wycombe Museum and Chiltern Rangers. Take a look below for more information on the events we held!

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Pulp Fact

Pulp Fact was a hands on paper making event for all ages, learning about how papermaking was an important industry along the River Wye.

Participants were encouraged to forage for papermaking materials and created their own paper to take home!

Dye in the Wye

Dye in the Wye allowed families to have a go at felting, making dyes from natural materials and dyeing fabric, unlocking links to our shared heritage of the River Wye.

Participants started at Wycombe Museum, following the journey of wool from a sheep being sheared to the wool being pounded and cleaned or ‘fulled’ at the mill. Then they were led down to the Rye to have a go at dying the wool, as well as learning about spinning wool.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

Timber! Hands on charcoal event

Timber! Hands on Charcoal event allowed participants learn more about coppicing and the making of charcoal, which was a common use of the River Wye Mills back in the 19th century.

Participants enjoyed toasting marshmallows over an open fire and using charcoal to create drawings of the local trees. Stories were told of the old saw mills, using objects from Wycombe Museum’s chair-making collection to understand how the woods around Wycombe led to our most famous local industry.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

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