GUIDE TO THE AFON EDEN
(Pont y Grible to Mawddach Confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: Afon Eden.
WHERE IS IT?: The Afon Eden starts at Pont Y Grible (just south of Bronaber on the A470), weaving it's way through Coed Y Brenin until being joined by the Afon Mawddach and the infamous Afon Gamlan. Carry on down the Mawddach and end at the Stone Bridge and Car Park (GR 730234) (Map: Dolgellau and Surrounding Area, No. 124).
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Driving South From Bonaber towards Dolgellau on the A470 turn right onto a small road, which is gated approx. 100 yards down (Please close the gate and make sure you're not entering a private house!). Follow this road to the bridge, Pont Y Grible, where there is a space to leave a car (GR 708305).
An alternative get-in is at the Coed Y Brenin Visitor centre a little further along the A470, although if you do this you'll miss some of the Grade III/ IV rapids above.
Take outs are at Pont ar Eden (GR 726249) prior to the weir, but I'd recommend carrying on past the 2 weirs (INSPECT THE 2ND WEIR!) into the Afon Mawddach, past the Gamlan which enters on river right until the bridge and car park.
APPROX LENGTH: 8 km.
TIME NEEDED: We (Group of 5) took 5 1/2 hours to do it all, including relevant inspections and one or two rescues!
ACCESS HASSLES: Contact the WCA River Advisor for up to date access information.
The Hairyboater (Dec 2005)...'We paddled the Eden at the start of december. We were just waiting for the shuttle, when a 'little old lady' in a huge SUV pulled up and told us that we shouldn't be paddling because a) local anglers won't like it, b) it has just been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to freshwater mussels.... She then very sportingly said that she hadn't seen us, and wouldn't tell before driving off. It was a great run but beware of fallen trees in the gorge. If you are going to run this, do so in full 'stealth boating' mode!'
From Rory and Fiona (1/12/00).......After a chance meeting with the Welsh Environmental agency on Saturday, they say there is no paddling access to this 'stretch'. They would enforce this by calling the bailiff who would book us! At this point we were at the second road access at Geli Goch GR 711290, where they have built a FISH WEIR, just south of the ford. I assumed that they just meant the upper Eden but did not want to ask about the Eden from Pont Dolgefeillau down as that might be pushing our luck. They were pretty reasonable once we had explained that normally we would respect their request, but we were only wanting to do this stretch to see if we could find any gear from the day before. They were generally pretty peeved because all their signs kept being ripped down by 'paddlers' but after a long chat about water levels and fish weirs they let us get on once we had agreed to spread the word! It may be worth respecting this wish if it makes life easier on the rest of the Eden/ Mawddach, anybody else know more or better?'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: At the point where the Afon Crawcwelt joins the Afon Eden there is a river gauge on one of the bridges. We ran the river when the water reached the '8' on the gauge. This gave a good grade IV run. If you got on at Pont Y Grible the overhanging branches should all be in the river.
GRADING: In Flood this river gives a good III/ IV run, with some very continuous sections of IV.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Pont Y Grible to Coen Y Brenin - overhanging trees and wire fences, NOTE - there is one wire fence that runs across the whole river!
Chris Sladden (Jan 2004)...'That fish weir at Geli Goch is a pain in the ass and a usual portage. However, I once paddled this with Mark Birch from Brookbank Canoes in exceptional conditions and I was able to run right over the side of the weir and all its wires and footwalk - the rapids below were a serious class V at this level. Much harder than when I had boated them before and quite frankly frightening.'
Dave Evans...'Paddled the Eden on 02/11/03. Ran the top section and found the fence going completely across the river. I think the river river gauge said just less than 8 at the bridge further down. At this level there was no gap below the fence and we couldn't tell if is continued lower into the water. Luckily it didn't as we hadn't spotted it in time and like lemmings we all went through it one after another. As the last person I got my buoyancy aid caught on it which gave for an interesteing few moments. Swam out of it evenutally but think it is worth emphasising that at this level it is a portage and it is difficult to spot until you are a few metres away. Beware.'
Pete Cornes (Dec 2003)...'I was driving along the side of the Eden last week (16/11/03) and there were a fair few trees down on the kilometre or so before it joins the Mawddach, including a couple right across the stream. Shouldn't be a problem, but take that stretch slowly.'
Coed Y Brenin till end of Mawddach - in the gorge section there were a lot of fallen trees which would be very nasty if not spotted in time!
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The first section from Pont Y Grible is a fairly tame session of tree dodging, beware the fence across the river! Once past the two bridges, where the Afon Crawcwelt enters from river right, there is a section of Grade III/ IV rapids until the Coed Y Brenin visitor centre is reached.
Past here the rapids continue until a short, attractive gorge section. When we paddled this river the gorge section was completely blocked by several fallen trees, we'll have to come back!
OTHER NOTES: This river was very sustained and technical all the way. It's a great river although, apparently, is only worth doing in high water. Two other groups followed us down this river later in the day losing 3 boats and a paddle between them, highlighting the sustained and therefore serious nature of the river. I would recommend this river to anyone but be prepared not to be able to take a breather until your in the car! Other local rivers include: (II, III IV) the Afon Gain (IV V) and the Afon Gamlan (V VI).
From Rory and Fiona (1/12/00)...'Just a little note of warning. We paddled this stretch from Pont y Grible to Geli Goch in mega flood levels (above 9 on the indicator), October half term, it was about two foot down from the top of the fish weir at Geli Goch (not In guidebooks and definitely a portage). At this level about a 100 metres up stream from the ford, around a blind bend there is a sheep fence right across the river and at this level there are no breakouts and it's only about a foot above the surface.
At normally paddling levels when the water the river is huge (ie PTF, no boulder and the gorge is completely boulder free) the water is over the wire mesh on the Fish weir, the river is contained in it's bank and you have a little more time. We have 3 older (if thats possible) wiser, poorer and pretty scared paddlers who only just lived to tell the tale. Also there is a tree down just below Two Morals rapid, and a much more serious tree right across the Eden half to two thirds of the way down, on a gorge s shaped bend only just visible from scouting. In VERY high conditions this would be very serious and I think it's going to be there for a while.'
Eden in very high water, one long wave train with a few tree ducks - Usually looks alpine with rocks showing.