More than 500 learners across the Wye Valley are participating in art projects to celebrate nature ahead of the upcoming Wye Valley River Festival.

School pupils from seven schools are collaborating to create installations inspired by fungi and trees, in line with the festival's ecological theme centred around "the earth beneath our feet.”

These artworks will be showcased during the festival for all attendees to appreciate. 

The Wye Valley River Festival will also feature various performances, workshops, and installations across multiple venues from Hereford to Chepstow and will be taking place from May 3 to May 12. 

Children from primary schools in Ross-on-Wye and Monmouthshire are among the seven schools taking part in the creative works. 

Kymin View Primary School is one of the seven primary schools involved in the Schools Outreach project and creating environment inspired artwork.

The headteacher at Kymin View Primary School, Sally-Ann Wright, said: “The pupils have got a huge amount from working together with the River Festival team. 

“It has been a pleasure to see their work take shape and they can be proud that their efforts will be seen by audiences during the festival."

Organisers have expanded community involvement beyond the festival period, with ongoing outreach activities conducted by Think Creatively to engage primary school pupils in creative responses to their local environment. 

Angharad Evans and Ian McAndrew from Think Creatively have been conducting the outreach work to get Primary school pupils responding creatively to the environment all around them.

Angharad said: “It has been inspiring to see young minds responding in the sessions having listened to the sounds of plants, talked about their relationship with their local environment and nature. They are creating spoken word works, banners and willow structures, which are being passed between schools to create a series of bioluminescent mushrooms.”

Ian said: “The pupils are bringing their own ideas to each session but their message to the world is becoming loud and clear. They believe in nature and want to see it protected.”

The festival is held every two years since 2014 and is run by Wye Valley River Festival CIC, an arts organisation led by innovative artists and communities creating work on environmental themes.

Across the last four festivals, which were held in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2022, the event attracted over 133,000 audience members, 19,550 people engaging in outreach and participation projects. 

According to the Wye Valley River Festival website, the economic impact of the four festivals generate more than £2,450,000 for the local area. 

Artistic director of the festival, Phillippa Haynes, said: “The Wye Valley River Festival has a proud heritage of getting audiences to entertained, moved and inspired by the region’s landscape and wildlife and the 2024 programme will be bigger and better than ever before.

“It is fantastic to see young minds engaging with the earth theme as soil health is a national concern, because of floods and climate management, food security, farming and erosion. We are delighted with the work being produced, which will be centre stage during the festival.”

The Festival was created and developed in partnership by the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund, Arts Council England, the Sustainable Development Fund, the Welsh Government and Forestry England.

The programme for this year will be announced in the coming weeks. The majority of the events will be free to attend and will not require any tickets. For more information on the festival and to keep up to date with announcements, visit: