A FATHER who discovered human faeces floating in a river where his children were playing while holidaying in Powys is adamant his family won’t stop visiting Mid Wales – which he has described as “magical”.

Will Mallard, a writer, photographer and television presenter, was on holiday near Builth Wells with his family at the beginning of July, when his brother-in-law spotted human waste in the river where their kids were playing.

The 40-year-old was staying in a bunkhouse at Llanbadarn y Garreg, just outside Aberedw, and the grim discovery was made while the little ones were splashing around in the nearby River Edw.

Will, who has presented Hidden Wales as well as a three-part series, The River Wye, and is also an ambassador for Keep Wales Tidy, shared a video on social media voicing his disappointment at the “total selfishness” shown by the culprits.

“I find it really devastating,” said the Bafta Cymru-winning broadcaster.

“We’d been there (the river) a lot and went upstream after we cleaned up the kids, and carried on with the holiday.

“But, in terms of how it made me feel, I’m an ambassador for Keep Wales Tidy, I work with anglers against pollution, I’m really, really passionate about our rivers and river water quality and have been for years.

“When it comes to agri pollution or sewerage overflow being pumped out at times of high pressure, it is one thing, but there’s a high likelihood this was a person who was probably in the area on holiday and just upturned a chemical toilet into the river.

“There was a three metre square under a bridge just of turds, so to think someone’s done that, having spent time in such a beautiful area and enjoyed the environment, as they’re leaving, it breaks my heart. It’s total selfishness.

“One person tipping their own faeces into a river on a hot day, when there’s not much flow, the river is quite still and low, it’s going to stay there for a few days, which it did.

“Our break came to an end and it was still there. There’s aquatic invertebrate life and fish living there. If it was a chemical toilet the river has also got chemicals in there.”


Will, who was born and brought up in the Norfolk Fens, but has called Wales home for around 15 years, has visited Powys countless times, and insists this experience won’t stop him returning.

“It will never stop me coming back,” he said. “We go every single year and we’ll be back next year. I absolutely love it here.

“We made a series in Mid Wales, I’ve spent a lot of time here, in the Cambrian Mountains, which is the source of the River Wye.

“It’s a part of Wales I absolutely love and think is massively underrated. It’s spectacular and that particular stream, which wasn’t doing so well last year when I visited, it felt like, turds aside, it was coming back to life, which is positive.

County Times: The sandy coloured areas show where the waste was dumpedThe sandy coloured areas show where the waste was dumped (Image: Will Mallard)

“The people are really lovely and I think it’s a really magical part of the country.”

He said it’s important to remember that the one sour note of his holiday was likely an isolated incident.

“This person is in the extreme minority,” he added.

Jenny Phillips, south Powys environment team leader for Natural Resources Wales (NRW), said: “We have received a report of human waste having been tipped into the River Edw and we are investigating the incident.

County Times: Will with his children Will with his children (Image: Will Mallard)

“We had officers on site soon after it was reported and we carried out checks at the location in question as well as upstream and downstream. We believe that this is an isolated incident and the investigation is ongoing. Our officers did not see any evidence of fish or other wildlife in distress."

She added: “We all have a role to play ensure we get the quality of waters we want to see and we urge people to dispose of waste responsibly at designated facilities.

“We encourage anyone who witnesses an environmental incident to contact our 24/7 incident line on 0300 065 3000 or on our online reporting tool.”