NAME OF RIVER: Rhuddnant.
WHERE IS IT?: Aberystwyth/Devils bridge Area
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive to the forestry commission car park off the B4574 about two km east of Devils bridge. Turn off towards the car park and follow the road straight over the crossroads as you enter the forestry commission and follow the road essentially straight for about 20 minutes, put in where the road crosses the river in the wind farm. To get to the take out from the put on drive back the way you came until you get to the first road that goes to the right, follow this until the next right turn, and again, and another right turn (the last one being about 50m before a bridge over a now mellow grade 2 Rhuddnant). Egress at the end of this track where the road ends.
APPROX LENGTH: 2 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2-4 hours depending on levels.
ACCESS HASSLES: No access agreement but its forestry commission land, and they sometimes work there mid-week. Should be no problems at weekends. We once met a police officer who took our names but allowed us to paddle.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There is a drainage pipe under the bridge on the upstream side at the put on. If the water is within 6 inches of it then the river has enough for it to be entertaining, if the water is touching or covering the hole then you're in for a fun day.If you can't find it then its going to be hard and continuous. There is a gauge at the put on but it isn't that useful unless its high. If the water is up to the gauge then 5 upwards is high.
GRADING: 4. Gets to 5 when high.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Two waterfalls in quick succession. One has a 'possible' line but has never been done, the other is 50ft onto rock.
Trees can be an issue after the gorge.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: You put on in a wind farm at the source of the Rhuddnant which feels like another planet. The river starts with about 200m of flat through a bog. After passing under a wire you drop down some technical class 3 slides and drops for a short time until you get to the portage. There are not many eddies before the portage so scout if unsure. Two huge waterfalls landing onto very little and no water respectively. This is the start of the gorge so you have to walk round on the river right bank until you get to a wooded area. Find a nice tree and abseil down around 25 meters (so bring a 50m rope if you want to take it home with you!). This is where the fun begins. The first rapids start from pretty much the base of the 50ft drop, which are great read and run slides and drops. After this you find lots more slides and drops all under 10ft which are all great. In big flows these slides can get grabby at the bottom and eddies are hard to come by.
OTHER NOTES: This river is very remote. If something goes wrong then you are on your own. This is not a river for people who survival boat down grade 4…
The roads to the put on are complicated so look at it on a map before you go.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Aberystwyth University Canoe Club:
The water level isn't best checked by the pipe under the bridge, that's more of an indicator as to how much is flowing into the bog that feeds the river. I would say that if the bog is obviously full of water then the river is going to be on, if not it could well be a scrape. If all else fails, if its raining and the Ystwyth gauge is rising fast or is on more than a 0.5 its probably going. If you have to duck to get under the wire just before the rapids start then its big.
I've met someone who says they did it without a climbing rope and said it was fine, but I can't imagine that would be a whole lot of fun getting down so: climbing rope not essential but recommended.
Also having paddled it more I would say that it is only really good when its tanking, but that's probably not the case for everyone...