A FIRE and flame spectacular is among the highlights of the first-ever Wye Valley River Festival.

The ground-breaking event, which is spearheaded by the Wye Valley AONB Partnership, is being held to celebrate nature, culture, landscape and life along the River Wye.

It will feature a series of fire and flame celebrations in Monmouth, Llandogo and Chepstow and 300 volunteer torch bearers.

People from communities along the Wye Valley are expected to watch a host of riverside revelries which begin with a river carnival in Hereford on May 3. Among the stops will be Brockweir which will host a day of music, readings and reminiscence by local people and performers.

The festival culminates in a grand finale in Chepstow featuring a flotilla, choir, brass bands, fire and flame and illuminations on May 18.

A narrative thread linking events together will see the river itself put ‘on trial’ on May 9 and 10 in the 16th Century courtroom of the Shire Hall, Monmouth in a new production created and performed by artists and the community in collaboration with Desperate Men Outdoor Arts Company and supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council England.

Wye Valley AONB officer, Andrew Blake said: “This unique festival will enable people to experience landscape conservation as never before as art dares to pose questions of environmental concern.”

He said: “Walks, talks, debates and an imaginative collaboration of artists, communities and conservation experts will enable everyone to enjoy the spectacular Wye Valley and lend their voice to the conservation about the future of this precious countryside.”

For details visit www.wyevalleyaonb.org.uk