Paddleboarding close up of board on river

Navigating change: River journeys inspired by our natural environment

A reflection on the remarkable river journeys that people have made this month.

Jayne Mann


In recent weeks, many individuals and organisations have embarked on extraordinary river journeys to highlight the importance and urgency to protect our rivers for future generations.

Here are just some of the recent, remarkable river journeys that are a great reflection of the energy and determination of people committed to river conservation.

Our CEO embarks on a triathlon down the Wye, alongside the Newcore Capital Team

On the 14th and 15th September, our Chief Executive, Mark Lloyd joined the team from Newcore Capital on a gruelling 125 mile triathlon from the source of the River Wye in the Welsh hills into the Severn Estuary at Chepstow.

Their journey began by walking or running 10 miles across the moor from the source at Plynlimon in the Cambrian Mountains, then cycling 90 miles to Symonds Yat. Then paddling a further 16 miles in kayaks, finishing off with a near half-marathon on foot to the sea.

The team are well on the way to raising an impressive £30k for The Rivers Trust. You can support them here.

Planet Patrol's Race for Rivers

Planet Patrol, a global movement dedicated to cleaning up rivers and waterways, organised the world's first paddleboarding relay to monitor quality of England's rivers. This incredible initiative saw teams of dedicated volunteers embark on a 641km paddleboarding relay across the length of England’s connected waterways, testing water quality enroute.

Any paddleboarders can take part in the relay, to track their journey or join them along the way, visit Planet Patrol's website.

Lewis Pugh completes his Hudson River Swim

This month, Lewis Pugh, a renowned endurance swimmer and environmental activist, swam the entire length of the Hudson River (an incredible 315 miles!). This epic endeavour aimed to draw attention to the importance of clean water and the urgent need to protect our rivers and oceans. His journey served as a powerful reminder that individual actions, no matter how daunting, can inspire positive change.

River Action’s journey down the Thames

On the 12th - 21st of September, local supporters joined River Action along the River Thames to demand action from the government and all political leaders to urgently address river pollution.

The end of the expedition coincides with the ‘hand in’ of their petition, signed by almost 90,000 people, backing the Charter for Rivers that calls up on political leaders to protect and restore rivers by 2030.

To see their Charter for Rivers, visit River Action UK.

Thames walk for drinkable rivers

From 17th September - 17th October, Li An and Maarten from Drinkable Rivers will walk 350 kilometers from the source of the Thames in the Cotswolds to its mouth in the North Sea. During the walk, they will be engaging with local communities to share their vision of a world with drinkable rivers. Every day they’ll monitor the water quality of the Thames.

If you would like to join them on their journey, visit the Drinkable Rivers website.


We are so inspired by all these actions, and they’re a great reminder of the passion and commitment of individuals dedicated to protecting our rivers. Whether it's through challenging triathlons, epic paddleboard relays, or endurance swims, people are channeling their energy to raise awareness about the importance of clean rivers, and we love to see it!

We don’t all need to go to the extremes of an epic journey to connect with our rivers and reap the benefits of some time out in blue spaces. We are calling on anyone who can find their way to a river bank in the UK and Ireland to take part in our Big River Watch, launching this weekend (22nd- 24th September), but open all year round, all you need to do it download our free App, head out to your local river and record what you see. No experience or prior knowledge is required, just follow the simple instructions in the app and enjoy some time watching your river and learning more about your river’s health as you boost your own.


This blog was written with support of EU Life IP Natural Course project. Project number: LIFE14 IPE/UK/027

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