(Jackfields Rapids)

NAME OF RIVER: Severn, Jackfields Rapid.

WHERE IS IT?: Jackfield, near Ironbridge, Shropshire. This is just a short stretch of the longest river in Britain.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Parking is possible in two lay-bys downstream from Ironbridge on river left. Follow the main road through Ironbridge heading downstream. When the road bears right to go over the new bridge turn left onto the minor road, don't go over the bridge. The first lay-by is on the right after a short distance, put in here and paddle down to the rapid or continue driving on the same road to the next lay-by just after a house on the right. You can follow the path down to the side of the rapid from here. Do not park in front of the access gate to Telford Canoe Club's site, they don't like this.

Mark Lowndes, Secretary of Telford Canoe Club adds (April '00)...'No, we don't really like it but there are reasons,

  1. It blocks access for people using the site.
  2. The club had to lease the site to ensure the fishing clubs did not gain control over the whole stretch of the river some years ago. As such we pay to keep the site for all canoests. Unfortunately one point within our lease is that we must control the site to stop people tipping there and as such we had to erect a gate and maintain the fences. Camping is also restricted we are only allowed a set number of days when we can have people camping on the site. We do not wish to stop people paddling on the site this is not our aim. We have a number of groups who come and camp on site and use the river and toilet block, water, etc.
  3. It is safer to park your vehicle off the road and down by the river for security reasons and you don't offend the locals changing in full view.

All in all we encourage people to paddle at Jackfield and use the site but via the club and the designated access. We have had trouble in the past with a certain group of locals and would not wish to jeopardise this by the fact that people are ill informed. Club contacts are always listed with the BCU.'

Jon Curtis, Birmingham University Kayak Club, 16/09/06...'The minor road before the road is currently closed off for what looks like some major (i.e. long term) construction works. We got access by driving over the bridge and following the road downstream for about a mile. There was a good get in by the 'Boat Inn' or a little further upstream there was a track which led down to a house and had a footpath which led to the river.

Both of these access points are downstream of the rapids. It may be possible to paddle up through the rapids in low water although we had to portage to get above them. Was a great play spot to take some beginners to, very good for eddy training and the pub was very accomodating.'


TIME NEEDED: As long as you want.

ACCESS HASSLES: Right of navigation? Telford Canoe Club will happily let you have access to the slalom site for a nominal fee as they own it.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Can be paddled at all levels.

GRADING: Grade 2 to 3.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: None except slalom lines/ poles dangling around!

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A nice little rapid for an introduction to white water or a 'park and play' spot for mucking about on eddy lines on a summer evening. The river downstream (and upstream for that matter) of here is wide and flat with more than enough space for collecting swimmers and kit. A footpath runs along the river (left) though it gets overgrown in summer.

Pictures of the rapids.

Lines can be left across the river after slalom. Beware they do come down and end up in the river.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION=Update to previous description.

John Woodhall notes (September 2004)..'Over the past 3 years the rapids have changed a lot. There is also a huge variation in difficulty depending on the river level. I find that in lower levels the river tends to have more features on it and technically more to do, this summer it has been so low it has been an easy paddle upstream to Ironbridge town. In higher levels the water really does rip through the rapids and although mostly washed out there are some really big boils and small eddies that can catch you unaware, making it a little more difficult to paddle. In low levels there are several interesting features to navigate around, there are a nice few breakouts into eddys with waves that can be surfed next to them which is great for learning. Its a bit shallow in places though, so fiberglass boats beware. In higher levels the upper section tends to wash out which is when the lower section comes in useful. The main big rock on river right towards the bottom has been shored up due to it eroding, in low levels this is fine as you can do some nice moves into the flow from the eddy behind the rock. However in medium to high flows as the water begins to cover up the rock it creates rather a large stopper that can hold a kayak quite well. The rock has an underhang that you cannot see when the river is high so beware of getting caught up in the stopper. If in doubt avoid. The 2 waves that regularly formed below the rock are now hardly ever there except in certain water levels. Still an excellent spot for learning playboating or white water as there is a large eddy river left just below the rapids and flat water after that.

Consider a tour on the river below the rapids. Paddling down to the rapids from Shrewsbury is also pleasant.

OTHER NOTES: Anyone paddled other sections of the river?

'Tindale' adds...(April '00) 'Please note that I will be available online (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to answer any queries that potential paddlers may have about just about anything. As a committee member of Telford Canoe Club I am up to date with most things happening on and about the site and more than willing to take time to share this information with all potential paddlers.'

Jim Thornton (April 2004)...'I have put together an itinerary for the Severn.' (original link invalid, recovered from archive)

Also, take a look at this.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Andy Wilson, John Woodhall, Jim Thornton, Tindale, John Curtis and Mark Lowndes, Club Secretary of Telford Canoe Club..