The Rye and Holywell Mead
The Rye is located in the town centre of High Wycombe, a short walk from the High Street. The park covers an area of more than 22 hectares (53 acres) and is the second largest park in the district.
View the location of The Rye and Holywell Mead on My Wycombe.
There are two children's playgrounds in the park and football pitches are laid out on the grass during the season. There are also changing rooms for hire.
Please note: you may not use remote controlled vehicles (including drones) or metal detecting equipment on any council-owned open space.
Wycombe Rye Lido
The Wycombe Rye Lido with an open air pool, gym and tennis courts is located by the Holywell Mead car park. It is managed by Fusion (external link) on our behalf.
There are catering outlets around the park.
There is fishing and boating available on the Dyke. Permit fishing is allowed along part of the lake and permits can be obtained from the Post Office. Pleasure craft are for hire at the western end.
Public toilets are located at the car park, approached from Bassetsbury Lane, a turning off of the A40 London Road which borders the park.
The Rye hosts many events throughout the year.
The park includes the grassland area formerly known as Rye Mead, on which historically the townspeople of High Wycombe had the right to pasture their cattle, and additional areas which were formerly part of the Wycombe Abbey Estate once owned by the Carrington family. The park also extends to include the area of Holywell Mead, the site of a Roman villa and former watercress beds.
The Dyke on the Rye is large stretch of open water which is fed by water from the Abbey School grounds. The water spills over a waterfall and into a stream that flows out of the park toward the east.
Formal flowerbeds are situated at the Manor and at Pann Mill, on the London Road. The mill is opened occasionally through the summer and still grinds its own flour. It also has a nature garden with some interesting wild flowers. We remind dog walkers that we provide red bins for the disposal of dog faeces. We appreciate your co-operation as it helps to keep our parks clean and safe for all.
The Rye once again achieved the prestigious Green Flag award in 2019. The award recognises excellence in park management.
Revive the Wye
Formed in 2008 by The Chiltern Society (external link), The High Wycombe Society (external link) and the Wycombe Wildlife Group as a Wycombe Strategic Partnership project, the Revive the Wye project aims to protect and improve the natural environment of the River Wye and to make it a special place that people can enjoy and in which wildlife can flourish. The project builds on earlier work by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, the Environment Agency and ourselves.
The Wye flows from the north-west of West Wycombe, through High Wycombe, Wycombe Marsh, Loudwater, Wooburn and Bourne End, before joining the River Thames. It has a network of back-streams and tributaries, including the Hughenden Stream, which will also be included in the project.
The River Wye is one of a number of important chalk streams in the Chilterns. Chalk streams are an internationally rare habitat and support a wide variety of wildlife, including some of the UK's most endangered species.
The Revive the Wye project is run by a steering group that includes representatives from the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, the Environment Agency and ourselves, as well as the three initiating organisations. Local businesses such as TNS have also become involved through their corporate social responsibility programme.
The project objectives are:
- to protect and enhance the natural environment and setting of the river Wye, its tributaries and back streams
- to encourage the creation of access corridors along the river
- to engage with landowners and tenants of properties bordering the river with a view to seeking their assistance to enhance the setting of the river
- to consider and respond to planning issues affecting the river
- to raise awareness of the river Wye and matters related to it
- to form a Friends of the Wye Group to help achieve these objectives
- for more information on the project see the Revive the Wye website or download the Revive The Wye leaflet [PDF | 730KB]
Managing the area