1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wye

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For works with similar titles, see Wye.

WYE, a river of England, famous for its beautiful scenery. It rises in Montgomeryshire on the E. slope of Plinlimmon, close to the source of the Severn, the estuary of which it joins after a widely divergent course. Its length is 130 m.; its drainage area (which is included in the basin of the Severn), 1609 sq. m. Running at first S.E. it crosses the W. of Radnorshire, passing Rhayader, and receiving the Elan, in the basin of which are the Birmingham reservoirs. It then divides Radnorshire from Brecknockshire, receives the Ithon on the left, passes Builth, and presently turns N.E. to Hay, separating Radnorshire from Herefordshire, and thus forming a short stretch of the Welsh boundary. The river, which rose at an elevation exceeding 2000 ft., has now reached a level of 250 ft., 55 m. from its source. As it enters Herefordshire it bends E. by S. to reach the city of Hereford. It soon receives the Lugg, which, augmented by the Arrow and the Frome, joins from the N. The course of the Wye now becomes extremely sinuous; and the valley narrows nearly to Chepstow. For a short distance the Wye divides Herefordshire from Gloucestershire, and for the rest of its course Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire. It passes Monmouth, where it receives the Monnow on the right, and finally Chepstow, 2 m. above its junction with the Severn estuary. The river is navigable for small vessels for 15 m. up from the mouth on high tides, but there is not much traffic above Chepstow. The average spring rise of the tide is 38 ft. at Chepstow, while 50 ft. is sometimes exceeded; the average neap rise is 28½ ft. The scenery is finest between Rhayader and Hay in the upper part, and from Goodrich, below Ross, to Chepstow in the lower, the second being the portion which gives the Wye its fame.

The name of Wye belongs also to two smaller English rivers—(1) a right-bank tributary of the Derbyshire Derwent, rising in the uplands near Buxton, and having part of its early course through one of the caverns characteristic of the district; (2) a left-bank tributary of the Thames, watering the valley of the Chilterns in which lies Wycombe and joining the main river near Bourne End.