Touring rivers

Go Canoeing / Where to paddle / Touring rivers


Whether you want to spend a few hours or a few days on the river, Wales has amazing touring rivers to explore, including the Dee, the Lugg, the Severn and the Wye.

However, it's important to be aware that there are differences of opinion on the legal right to paddle some parts of these rivers. We've provided as much information as we can to help you make an informed decision about where and when to paddle.
DISCLAIMER: We do our best to keep this information up-to-date, but we cannot promise that it is still true on the day you read it, You are advised to check locally before paddling. Canoe Wales takes no responsibility for the information provided - and your decision to paddle is always your own.
We include on this page information relating to touring 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.
River Dee

There is no confirmed Public Right of Navigation on the non-tidal River Dee. Downstream of Overton Bridge to the tidal limit in Chester is a lovely touring section. The section above, from Trevor to Overton has some easy rapids and two weirs that may require portaging.
Natural Resources Wales has informed us of a temporary fish trap that they operate between March and June at Worthenbury. 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 Lugg

There is a Public Right of Navigation downstream from Presteigne town bridge.

River Severn

The Environment Agency has published a helpful canoeists’ guide with details of the river, amenities and access arrangements – although this is now rather old, so local advice should be sought regarding the latest information.

There is a Public Right of Navigation downstream from Pool Quay. Downstream from Stourport (England) a licence is required, which is included in Canoe Wales or British Canoeing membership.

River Wye

Downstream of Glasbury, the River Wye is a popular touring river all the way to its tidal reaches. The Environment Agency publishes a helpful canoeists’ guide with details of the river, amenities and access arrangements. This is due to be reviewed when stocks of the (2011) hard-copy booklet run out.

From Glasbury to Hay-on-Wye there is no confirmed Public Right of Navigation, but launching of canoes is permitted by Powys County Council at Glas-y-Bont common between 10am and 4pm and canoeists should plan their journey so that they are off this stretch of the river no later than 5pm. The Council’s permission is given on the condition that those launching canoes abide by the Code of Conduct published on this sign (which also shows the only ‘approved’ landing sites on-route), while commercial providers must sign up to a formal Code of Conduct. For more information about how to do this or to seek permission for other activities, please contact Powys County Council’s Countryside Services team, during office hours, on 01597 827500 or by email at  
Many birds – including Little Ringed Plover – nest on shingle banks along this stretch of the river and can be very sensitive to disturbance during the breeding season. One particularly important site at the oxbow lake is marked on a map on the sign. Birds may be nesting at any time between the middle of March and mid-August, so it is important not to go onto the large shingle areas at these times.
From Hay-on-Wye to Bigsweir (mostly in England) there is a statutory Public Right of Navigation, managed by the Environment Agency. Downstream of Bigsweir the river is tidal. The Environment Agency states that “below Bigsweir Bridge the Wye can be very dangerous, especially below Tintern. If you wish to canoe this stretch, leave Tintern no later than one hour after high water and travel down without stopping. Inexperienced canoeists are advised to avoid this stretch and should on no account travel below Chepstow, as currents in the Severn Estuary are extremely dangerous.
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