GUIDE TO THE AFON SEVERN
(Newtown to Abermule)
NAME OF RIVER: Severn.
WHERE IS IT?: Newtown, Powys to Abermule, Powys. This is just a short stretch of the longest river in Britain.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Putin: Follow the A483 to Newtown, Powys. Park on carpark in town center. Walk upstream river left to get on above the pedestrian bridge rapid.
Parking for get-out: Large Lay-by on the A483 nr Abermule, look for the right hand junction with a bridge over the Severn 50 metres away. You get off the river 100 metres upstream of the bridge and walk up to the road along side the Shropshire Union Canal.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 or 5 miles (seems longer on flat stretches)
TIME NEEDED: Couple of hours playing at the top, then a couple of hours for the run.
ACCESS HASSLES: No navigation rights above Welshpool, but I've never had a problem. The locals seem very friendly including the anglers I met. Busy Council carpark at the get-in, so a bit of common needed when getting changed, and please don't block the gateways at the get-out.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Watch the news for pubs underwater stories. If the Severn is honking it's fun for opens or kayaks. If the Severn is low go elsewhere, or use an open boat and tour it to Welshpool.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: In volume flow trees can be a problem for beginners. Half way down there is an horrendous weir, with a visible horizon line, and easy portage. The salmon steps at the side of this weir have a 90 degree bend and must be bank inspected if you are to run them (though I cannot think of a quicker way of needlessly upsetting the local anglers).
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: In low flows these features do not show, but put some mid to high volume on the river and the surf wave gets better and better. The first rapid in Newtown has a 30 foot wide surf wave at the top of the rapid and builds a nice playful stopper at the base of the rapid (downstream river right), also standing waves (downstream river left). In volume flows the stopper is usually 10 feet wide allows easy escapes and is good for spins and blunts. This is a cracking park and play rapid, with cheap carparking and no fees.
Follow downstream on easy water with small waves touching grade 2, until the B4389 roadbridge rapid is reached grade -3. Lots of waves and small(ish) stoppers and the bridge supports should test the beginners, another handy playspot. Flat sections follow with the occasional surf wave in volume, and some nice boils. Then an horrendous double drop weir, easy portage downstream river left. After this grade 1 and 2 to the get-out.
OTHER NOTES: Anyone paddled downstream of Abermule?
CONTRIBUTED BY: Pat Humphreys, Shrewsbury Canoe Club.