Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Severn/ Rheidol catchment and north
Post Reply
DaveWortley
Posts: 1299
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:01 pm

Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by DaveWortley »

Seeing as it's almost 'the kayaking season' and lots of groups use the Upper Conwy for beginners/intermediates, I'm posting this message here rather than on the North Wales section so maximise awareness... I wouldn't have wanted to come across it with a group of nervous paddlers.

There is a tree down near the start (first 1km) of the Upper Conwy, it is river wide and only passable at levels ~4.5-5 and upwards on the extreme hard right, where there is a boat wide gap by the bank if you lift yourself over the trunk of the tree slightly. I imagine with a good deal of rain this tree won't stay there very long, so if you don't see it beware it's large enough to block the river at any point.

I had an interesting chat with a Farmer on the banks of the Conwy, the old get out for the Upper Conwy is now 'not accessible' for kayakers as it's 'private land' there is a sign and the barb wire fence is no across the eddy (due to flooding) it's possible to get under it fairly easily at the 4-5 level on the gauge. The farmer says he has tried to agree access with the WCA, he says he offered October-March, but they rejected it. He doesn't seem to mind paddlers too much and we had a nice chat about access issues, he occasionally has cattle/bulls in that field and doesn't want his cattle startled by paddlers walking up towards the gate, so only wants paddlers on it during the winter as to quote him, "the rivers only ran 3 times this summer". He seemed suprised by our good nature and chattyness and agreed that we had access from his land that day, and we had an incredibly beautiful paddle on both the upper and the middle Conwy.

Is there an 'unofficial' official get off for the Upper Conwy now? He seemed to think not.

User avatar
Lowri Davies
Posts: 1068
Joined: Tue May 14, 2002 1:35 pm
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Lowri Davies »

The tree is huge and very visible and even in high flow has plenty of flat above it, so shouldn't cause too much hassle as long as people are vaguely paying attention!

As for the take out, paddle past the "old" take out with the barbed wire and whatnot, under the bridge and down a lovely bit of grade 3. After not too long it flattens out (after a right turn) and there is a large boulder river right, with a stream just beyond it. You can walk up a field from here to the road just downstream of the usual layby. Alternatively carry on a little bit further down this pool and there is a track on river right before the next rapid starts. Stroll up this and you get to the next layby down from the cafe.

Great weekend for boating, a pleasant amount of water for all grades of paddlers, warm weather and even some sunshine! How paddling in the UK should be! :-D

Happy paddling guys

hilt1
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by hilt1 »

hi every one,as ieuan belshaw and he female padler said about the upper conwy there is still a large tree allmost crossing the river its still there,we were able to get past it on river left today , it was running low a few scrapes on the way,but allso we came accross another tree blocking the top of the rapid at padog which is a little above bryn bras falls where you just get to see the large wall on the right,at high water you might just miss sight of it,its very dangerous where it is right at the top of the rapid and a branch continues into the pool at the moment,so be aware
hilton blaenau ffestiniog

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3354
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Tree is still there - also the farmer noted above had an argument with the group leader at the get-out (he was waiting at the bridge) so we walked upstream for about 100m, ferried across to River Right and walked across the field to the road - only about 200m across a field with some sheep. The trip leader had asked the farmer if he owned this field as well, the landowner said, "yes" but the trip leader didn't believe him (interesting to see the other stories in the updates section).

There's also a big cluster of branches washed up a bit before the aforementioned tree, which you can just about get through.

We had some amusement at seeing the "salmon spawning areas map" that basically coloured in pretty much every stretch of all rivers!

Also when shuttling the cars at the end of the session, a gentleman had a chat with us in Ysbyty Ifan saying he'd received complaints about people "getting changed in the car park, exposing themselves and urinating behind the bins". He also said that he had no problems with paddlers but the "no access" sign was erected due to people seal launching when there's a walkway to the downstream side of the bridge which is behind the wall (difficult to see from the car park).

I assured him that people were discreet with getting changed since we could see there were children about, and that we hadn't witnessed anyone urinating.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

User avatar
Lowri Davies
Posts: 1068
Joined: Tue May 14, 2002 1:35 pm
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Lowri Davies »

To avoid arguments, can I suggest not getting out across the farmer's fields - especially when it upsets him so much and there are perfectly good (if not better) alternatives (see my previous post for details).

Ysbyty Ifan locals have been getting annoyed with the behaviour of some paddlers for quite some time - and to be honest it seems with fair reason. So I'd like to reiterate: please be mindful of the locals, change discretely, don't pee on their nice village and drive / park courteously and hopefully we won't end up with somewhere else dead set against paddlers!

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3354
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Hi Lowri

Thanks for that; good to know. The trip leader did print out the UKRGB page for this section of the river, but I don't think many people know to check out these "updates" sections. I think it would be a good idea to have the guide updated accordingly.
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3354
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by TechnoEngineer »

XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

Dan Yates.
Posts: 255
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:26 pm
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Dan Yates. »

A national park warden came up to my house the other day (actually quite a while ago) armed with a map. He asked if it would be a problem for paddlers not to use the under the bridge access/egress as locals were getting shirty about it. He suggested driving to the next layby down (towards Betws from the layby with the cafe caravan) and using a small lane there . This land is owned by the national trust and they are happy for access and egress there. I said it wouldn't cause any probs as was upstream of any of the middle Conwy's major rapid so would still be suitable for beginner groups. I offered to spread the word but he said he just wanted to dot the i's and cross the t's with the national trust first. I then forgot all about it . I'll try to catch up with him to check this is still what he wants and post back on here.
If this is the case it would be good if everyone could stick to this as the warden has really gone out of his way to find an alternative and check it's suitability with someone he knew to be a paddler. It would also be good if the on-line guide could be changed (and the new book entry if not too late, Tom). NB I'm not sure what this access point looks like from the river so walk down and have a look whilst doing the shuttle.

User avatar
Lowri Davies
Posts: 1068
Joined: Tue May 14, 2002 1:35 pm
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Lowri Davies »

Fantastic that the National Park are being so pro-active with this! Sounds very positive.

This is the take out the warden is referring to:
Lowri Davies wrote: As for the take out, paddle past the "old" take out with the barbed wire and whatnot, under the bridge and down a lovely bit of grade 3. After not too long it flattens out (after a right turn) and there is a large boulder river right, with a stream just beyond it… carry on a little bit further down this pool and there is a track on river right before the next rapid starts. Stroll up this and you get to the next layby down from the cafe.
To clarify this a little further, you cannot see the track that easily from your boat in the river. At the pool, find a suitable place to get out onto the bank and if you can't see the path walk downstream a bit and you'll soon see it!

From the layby (the layby downstream of the one with the cafe), you'll find the track leading down into the woods at the upsteam end of the layby (i.e. the end of the layby furthest from Betws!).

Dan: this egress is already being put in the new edition of Welsh Rivers :-)

Dan Yates.
Posts: 255
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:26 pm
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Dan Yates. »

Right , saw the warden over the weekend. Whilst sorting it out with the National Trust some higher powers found out and became involved . The whole thing got shunted across to a North Wales access forum or something involving someone called Ashley Charnwood? Anyhow apparently this means it will be discussed for about 2 years and then nothing will be decided. Therefore the take-out mentioned above does not have the National Parks or the National Trusts seal of approvement yet, but it still may be less hassle to use than the under the bridge spot.

User avatar
Lowri Davies
Posts: 1068
Joined: Tue May 14, 2002 1:35 pm
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: Tree Warning Upper Conwy

Post by Lowri Davies »

Dan Yates. wrote:Right , saw the warden over the weekend. Whilst sorting it out with the National Trust some higher powers found out and became involved . The whole thing got shunted across to a North Wales access forum or something involving someone called Ashley Charnwood? Anyhow apparently this means it will be discussed for about 2 years and then nothing will be decided. Therefore the take-out mentioned above does not have the National Parks or the National Trusts seal of approvement yet, but it still may be less hassle to use than the under the bridge spot.
Shame that it has been shunted into a system which is likely to take time for official approval but I'd definitely still recommend using that get out. The get out at the bridge certainly doesn't have approval and creates a lot of agro.

Btw, Ashley Charlwood works for canoe wales and was their access officer when they had one. He still deals with any access issues but as cw's stand on access is that we have a right to float, they no longer see the need for a dedicated access officer, seeing as no "access agreements" need negotiating. Obviously, even with the right to float, we still need to have places to get on and off the river though - so this is one example of the sort of negotiation that still takes place.

Cheers for keeping us updated Dan.

Post Reply