GUIDE TO THE RIVER SEVERN
(Shrewsbury to Ironbridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Severn.
WHERE IS IT?: Shropshire. This is just a short stretch of the longest river in Britain.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Shrewsbury has its own boat yard and launching ramp in the centre of town just across the Welshpool bridge, the council car park very gives good access.
The take out point is either next to the Ironbridge museum where there is a carpark for general useage, or you can carry on down stream pass the Jackfields Rapids and take out at Jackfields Rapids itself. Jackfields is free parking whereas the car park at Ironbridge is pay and display.
APPROX LENGTH: About 13 to 15 miles.
TIME NEEDED: I was paddling mostly myself (as my lad is only young!) it took about six hours, but you could do it in four.
ACCESS HASSLES: Right of navigation; full access to the river.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Can be paddled at all levels. Water levels vary due to the weather, when we paddled the river was at its lowest at some points down to approx 6 inches deep. When the river is in flood it runs very fast and has very strong under current. So its worth checking whether the river is in flood or not. The river is topped up from the welsh hills.
GRADING: When low, grade 1 going to a 2 or even 3 in places when in flood. Jackfields Rapids a grade 2 when in low flood.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:Jackfields Rapids is a harder rapid. There's only one hazard you have to get over and that is a weir which stretchs right across the river just before you leave Shrewsbury, there is easy access to leave and enter the river.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: On the start at Shrewsbury you paddle the outskirts of the town then straight into countryside. As said, the river shallows out in a few places. There is only one public house on route and that is about one and half hours outside of Shrewsbury on your left hand side. There are some wonderfully built bridges to pass under not, forgetting the Ironbridge itself. See the Jackfields Rapids guide for more information on this possible finish.
OTHER NOTES: The river when low is a very good start river for beginners, and changes into a very fast river for the more adventurous out there. Well worth a day out, as Shrewsbury and Ironbridge have a lot to offer other than paddling. Shrewsbury: good shopping centre and night life for the day and night before starting. Ironbridge: very historic.
Also consider the section above Shrewsbury.
Jim Thornton (April 2004)...'I have put together an itinerary for the Severn.'
Also, take a look at this.
I've been using the museum beach for access and egress regularly for a number of years and am concerned to see the post last September claiming it was closed.
It's the safest and easiest beach in most water levels, for a considerable distance, not the precarious boulders of Jackfield. It is also very civilised for tourers to pull off there and get an ice cream.
I've emailed the local access officer to see if any actions are underway, but it looks like there is a good case to get it made official of there is 30+ years of proven usage.
On one related note to this section, I note the guide bit recommends starting at Frankwell in Shrewsbury. This is fine as there is great access, however you will have to get around Shrewsbury weir. Be careful in most water levels as it isn't the most paddling friendly feature.
The rowing club, Dael End park, Wharfage got in an out of the river at all of these points in the last 25 year with no problems. After the actual Ironbridge there are no suitable access points until Backfield rapids. This is manage by Telford Canoe Club who could also help you with current access details.