Young Roots project

by | Sep 10, 2019 |

Latest update for Young Roots project 2019

Since the end of the practical workshops and installations in 2017 there has been a maintenance session carried out annually by our Ranger team with the help of a variety of young people.

The first year one of our Rangers did a tour of the eight sites with one of the budding artists who helped paint the masterpieces originally. A fresh coat of vanish was applied to all the artwork to protect them for another year, and they were checked over for any possible remedial work that might have needed to have been carried out. Luckily they had stood up to the test of time and no urgent action was required.

Cue round two of the maintenance. Unfortunately it transpired that this time there was much more necessary repair work to implement. Three of the large pieces at Funges Meadow were vandalised so had to be taken down for repainting; our wonderful artist friend Dan Wilson took delivery of them and set to work. With the help of five local teenagers they were restored with, in Dan’s words, an updated 2019 look, surpassing their previous glory. Come the summer, a merry band of three work experience students, Mr Wilson, and one of our team reinstalled them at their original location to the delight of many.

As in the previous year, all the other artwork left in situ received some tlc and notes taken on any that will require more intensive maintenance going forward. An ongoing task!

This links us to a similar project where Thames Water have provided funding to restore the River Wye from Desborough to Bourne End. Please see our Revive the Wye river project for more information on this next stage of revitalising our precious chalkstream.

Project Introduction and Trail Leaflet Download

Over 1200 young people and 500 adult volunteers created an eight point art trail from High Wycombe town centre to Kingsmead along the River Wye – Wycombe’s Secret River. At one local Secondary School only four pupils out of eighty knew the name of the river that flows through High Wycombe! The Wye is very special, in fact it is an internationally rare chalk stream. We hope that this trail will mean that it will be more valued, cherished and celebrated by the people of High Wycombe.

Young Roots’ fun practical workshops took place at these trail sites during school holiday in 2016 and ’17; activities included conservation work, planting, habitat improvements, painting art installations,  nest box building and decorating, making and editing short films, interviewing local residents, camp fire cooking and so much more… So many young people groups joined us and got involved including; Scout and Guide groups, Young Deaf Activities, School groups, Bucks Young Carers to NCS teams.

As the project developed some of our regular young people developed into young leaders, coming early to events to set up and to lead activities with the professional team. The project was lead by ranger Paul Stack with help from the Chiltern Rangers Team, Sadia Hussain and the Wycombe Youth Action team, our amazing National Award winning artist Dan Wilson and Gary Blake and Scott Bullock from Highway productions who created a skilled and motivated young people film team.

The best way of seeing the impact of the project on our river and the young people who worked on it is to watch the videos and visit the art on the trail. The biggest transformation was to the centre of town where our young people worked with so many community partners including Wycombe District Council, the Fire Brigade, Environment Agency, Chiltern Conservation Board to bring the river back to life in Wycombe’s Town Centre. It is now a wildlife oasis in the centre of our town and the planting is maturing nicely!


The largest art installation is at Funges Meadow Nature Reserve, transforming an often tagged railway bridge with five huge pieces of art.

Download the art trail leaflet by clicking on the links below and off you go!

It has been an extremely memorable experience and it is very rewarding to know that I am helping to make a change to the environment. Jasmine aged 14

As well as the main funders, we are also thankful to Marsh and Micklefield Big Local and Rivers and Wetlands Community Days who also supported these Trail Site days.

One of the aims of the project was to get younger and older people working  and having fun together. Keep an eye out on the events page on our website for further activities.