GUIDE TO THE AFON RHIW
(Caravan site at GR 157023 to Berriew)
NAME OF RIVER: Afon Rhiw.
WHERE IS IT?: Mid Wales, 4 miles south of Welshpool off the A483. OS Sheet 136 Newtown and Llandiloes. It's a tributary of the Severn.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access via the caravan site at GR157023 by the ford. Ask permission from the park owner at reception.
Egress river left under/ after the bridge in Berriew village. Parking is available on river right by the sculpture museum or further down at the picnic site. There is no suitable egress on river right.
APPROX LENGTH: 5 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1 hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: No discernible problem. The caravan park residents were very friendly. The river is a salmon spawning river though and consideration should be given to this before deciding to paddle.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The ford at the caravan site gives a good indicator. The level needs to be fully covering the ford and at least a few inches deep at the centre.
Ben Clinch adds (22/10/01)...'The ford has been converted into an irish bridge (man-made siphons). If the water level is not well over the bridge level there is a real risk of getting sucked down a one metre square pipe (not nice). If you do start the run at Manafon (futher upsteam grade 2) make this irish bridge a portage.'
Dave Butler (July 2005)...'I have never seen the "Irish Bridge" feature referred to either. I think your contibutor was referring to the Mule a little way up the Severn valley and on the other side.'
The last drop above the town bridge gives a more subjective indicator in that if the rapid looks exciting the rest of the river should be okay.
GRADING: Grade 2 with one drop of 3+.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Overhanging trees would be a problem in high water. See also info about the ford.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is a lovely paddle at the grade, never dull with lots of waves to play on and many rapids in such a short section. The last drop in Berriew is an exciting finish, providing good spectator sport as people are backlooped in the deep stopper (grade 3+).
OTHER NOTES: The river can be paddled from Manafon, access behind the pub. I have not run this section but it should provide another 5 Km of similar water. Anyone done it?
Anon (November 2002)...'As suggested it is perfectly possible to put in at the pub in Manafon. Permission to park on the pub car park was given on request. This makes a good paddle down to Berriew. No sign of the "Irish Bridge" hazard referred to by an earlier contributor though.'