WHITE WATER

There are hundreds of white-water rivers in Wales, ranging from moderate Grade 2 to extreme Grade 6 – as well as an artificial white-water centre in Cardiff and tidal rapids such as The Bitches in Pembrokeshire.

If you are looking for more tranquil flat-water or Grade 1 rivers, check out our Canoe Trails page!

Wherever you choose to paddle, please be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a paddler and our disclaimer relating to the information contained in these pages.

The Legal Situation

With the exception of a few rivers where there is a Statutory Public Right of Navigation (the Lugg downstream of Presteigne, the Severn downstream of Pool Quay and the Wye downstream of Hay-on-Wye), there is no confirmed Public Right of Navigation on other physically-navigable, non-tidal rivers in Wales. It has long been assumed by some that rights of navigation on these rivers are private (and generally controlled by riparian owners – i.e. the owners of the river banks). However, some published research now challenges this assumption. Canoe Wales therefore acknowledges that there are different opinions on the legal position on rivers where public rights have not been confirmed and cannot therefore advise paddlers whether they have a right to paddle on such rivers.

In addition, any public or private rights of navigation on rivers do not in themselves grant paddlers any rights to cross land to access those rivers, so paddlers should seek permission to paddle or cross land wherever or whenever it is clear and unambiguous in law that you do not have the right to do so.

White Water Rivers

We will include on this page information relating to white-water rivers in Wales that we believe will be useful to help paddlers make an informed decision on whether to paddle, but this information should not be taken as advice to trespass nor does the existence of information on this website confer any rights.

In the short-term we will include any issues and arrangements relating to access that we are aware of. Please inform environment-officer@canoe.wales if you are aware of other specific issues or arrangements that we should publicise.

North Wales

River Ceiriog

Natural Resources Wales has informed us of a temporary fish trap that they operate between March and June on the River Ceiriog at Chirk. Its operation (between dusk and dawn) is notified by warning signs and lights and when not in use it should not pose a hazard to canoeists. For details click here

River Dee

Llantysilio (Horseshoe Falls) access point: the tenant of the field has politely requested that paddlers carry their boats down the hill to the river, rather than dragging or tobogganing, to avoid destroying the grass which he rents for grazing. This is the least we can do to continue to earn our welcome on this precious river - so please spread the word!

The Welsh Dee from Glyndyfrdwy Bridge to Trevor is covered by an Access Arrangement. Canoe Wales does not endorse this arrangement since it does not meet our criteria for ‘appropriate management measures for shared use of waterways’. Nevertheless, this arrangement has been put in place with the support of landowners to enable commercial operators to use the river with confidence – so paddlers should be wary of behaving in ways that could jeopardise the arrangements.  Canoe Wales is liaising with the Welsh Dee Partnership to seek alternative arrangements that better suit recreational paddlers.

River Glaslyn

The Glaslyn from Llyn Gwynant to Pont Aberglaslyn is covered by an Access Arrangement which includes restrictions on river levels; and on access to the Aberglaslyn gorge during the fishing season. Canoe Wales does not endorse this arrangement since it does not meet our criteria for ‘appropriate management measures for shared use of waterways’. Nevertheless, this arrangement has been put in place by the landowners to enable both paddlers and anglers to use the river with confidence – so paddlers should be wary of behaving in ways that could jeopardise this. Canoe Wales is seeking to liaise with the National Trust to review this arrangement.

Southeast Wales

River Usk

The River Usk from Sennybridge to Crickhowell is covered by an Access Arrangement. Canoe Wales does not endorse this arrangement since it does not meet our criteria for ‘appropriate management measures for shared use of waterways’. Nevertheless, this arrangement has been put in place with the support of landowners to enable commercial operators to use the river with confidence – so paddlers should be wary of behaving in ways that could jeopardise the arrangements. Canoe Wales is liaising with the Wye & Usk Foundation to seek alternative arrangements that better suit recreational paddlers.

River Wye

The River Wye upstream of Glasbury is covered by an Access Arrangement. Canoe Wales does not endorse this arrangement since it does not meet our criteria for ‘appropriate management measures for shared use of waterways’. Nevertheless, this arrangement has been put in place with the support of landowners to enable commercial operators to use the river with confidence – so paddlers should be wary of behaving in ways that could jeopardise the arrangements. Canoe Wales is liaising with the Wye & Usk Foundation to seek alternative arrangements that better suit recreational paddlers.
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Canoe Wales, National White Water Centre, Frongoch, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7NU

01678 521199

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