GUIDE TO THE AFON EDW
(Cregrina to Wye Confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: Edw.
WHERE IS IT?: A tributary of the Wye which runs from above Cregrina down to Aberedw. Best approached on the B4567, either cross the Wye at Erwood or take the A481 out of Builth Wells and turn onto the 4567.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The put in we use is the bridge at Cregrina (SO124521), there is space for one car just by the gate. Get out at the confluence with the Wye (SO 077 470). Parking at the get out is the small muddy verge by the old railway bridge. This is an excellent view point to sus out the final drop.
APPROX LENGTH: 12 km long so take your butties and flask for a stretch at the picnic site.
TIME NEEDED: With portages/inspection etc you need 2+ hours at least.
ACCESS HASSLES: We have never had any trouble with access but I do know of one confrontation with landowners(?) at Llanedw Falls while a group were scouting from the bank. It all ended peacefully with false names being given and honour being satisfied. The banks are heavily fenced and you do get the impression paddlers are not particularly welcome. However it hasn't stopped us yet! And don't let it stop you, rivers like this need to be paddled regularly to establish a presence.
Paul Bayliss (1/2/02)...'It is worth noting that one group of paddlers were fined 1000 each for paddling this river and big complaints have gone to the WCA as this river is a SSSI. BE careful!'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: At the confluence with the Wye the small gravelly island needs to be covered. At the get in, there should be enough water to float down to the first falls.If you are scraping over the falls water levels are low but the river is paddleable - just. If the falls are running well the levels are meduim to good. Good intermediate river at medium levels but beware, this river is a serious proposition in high water.
GRADING: 3/ 4 with plenty of grade 2 inbetween. In high water the objective dangers from strainers and other debris add another dimension.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is some barbed wire in two places and no matter how quickly it's cut it seems to repair itself again, so a sharp look out by the lead paddler is essential.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: 50 or so metres downstream of Cregrina Bridge is the first fall, in high water run river left, it can get a bit grabby in high water. In low/ medium levels you may wonder what the fuss is about! There are two large trees down, which have almost become a permanent feature of the river. Portage or 'sneak' past. In high water they are a problem.
Two caravans on river left and a footbridge herald Llanedw Falls. Two lines possible here. The 'Slot' on river right in low water (Grade 3) or the multiple drop on river left (grade 4). Both are fun but the 'slot' in high water could wipe the smile off!
Next fall is under a small road bridge (grade 3) which marks the beginning of a small gorge which is good fun. Small drops etc bring you to the picnic site (tables and benches on river left). Below here are a series of great little surf waves and holes to play in.
After the picnic site is a cattle crossing which spans the river, this is a hazard in medium/ high water, two booms span the river from which dangle heavy rubber strips. Negotiating them can be tricky.
The final tasty bit comes at the point where the paddler is starting to think about a pint or two, a small road bridge is passed and the banks steepen and close in. This is the town gorge and is the icing on the cake. Grade 3/ 4 water speed you past some houses on river right. As the gorge closes right down the river gathers speed for the final flourish under the old railway bridge. Take care boats are well spaced at this point, once the descent has begun there is no stopping, keep river left to avoid the tree branches on river right. Exit river right before you join the Wye.
OTHER NOTES: If you haven't had enough and the water is high then you might consider continuing down the Wye to Llanstephan Bridge, but the pub in Aberedw is probably more attractive.