Imagine relaxing in a quiet and peaceful part of town, listening to the river as it babbles along its way, and seeing the blue flash of a kingfisher as it heads upstream.

Our River Wye is an internationally important chalk stream, one of only 200 in the world, and reopening it, together with the Hughenden Stream, in the heart of our town, would bring benefits to the environment, people and wildlife.

Increasing temperatures are already affecting our environment and will exacerbate the urban heat island effect which occurs where natural land cover has been replaced with concentrations of concrete, brick, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat.

This effect increases energy costs (e.g. for air conditioning), air pollution levels, and can lead to heat-related illness and mortality.

An appropriately landscaped corridor alongside the remade river would mitigate Wycombe’s heat island effect.

Installing porous surfaces and planting native vegetation would reduce rainwater run-off, increase water retention, and result in cooling as it evaporates.

Planting trees to provide shade, together with the flow of the relatively cool river, would add to the cooling effect.

For residents and visitors alike, these changes would create a valuable area for personal wellbeing and recreation.

Educational benefits can be gained from the installation of interpretation boards, stream dipping platforms for children and a release site for schools engaged in the Trout in the Classroom initiative.

For older students the area could become a useful environmental and ecological educational resource.

A riverside pedestrian route through the heart of Wycombe would be a step towards gaining public access along the length of the river, and in so doing, connect green spaces including Desborough Recreation Ground, The Rye / Holywell Mead, Kingsmead Park, Wooburn Park and, via the Hughenden Stream, Hughenden Park.

The wildlife would benefit too as our river is home to a wide range of plant and animal species among which are water crowfoot and water cress; the aquatic invertebrates which are food for the brown trout and other fish; the little egret, moorhen and tufted duck; the bats hawking for adult insects over the water.

De-culverting would reconnect separated habitats and wildlife populations, both for their benefit and for the enjoyment we gain by being near them.

Friends of the Wye would love to see the river born again - can imagination become reality?

James Donald, chairman, Friends of the Wye