GUIDE TO THE AFON SENNI
NAME OF RIVER: Senni.
WHERE IS IT?: Draining the Brecon Beacons, this small river can be found entering the Usk valley at Sennybridge. OS Map 160.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: We started in the village of Heol Senni, and finished in the village of Sennybridge, just after the confluence with the River Usk. Alternative start/ finish points are described below.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours or more in low water.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: I paddled this when it read 3 on the gauge weir (see below); this was a bit low, more would be an improvement.
Chris C www.cardiffcanoe.org (Nov 2005)...'I did the Senni today twice, once in high flows the last run in very high flows. We got in under a road bridge; the first lane after Sennybridge on the Swansea road. This lets you get in round the corner of the most interesting bits. The first weir kicks up some nice play waves. The next weir/ drop becomes a 3/ 3+ rapid with big waves above and river wide hole which was sticky and held one guy for a bit. The rapid continued to the confluence with a few branches in the water to be careful of and some nice stoppers to play in. At the confluence to the Usk, the step kicks up a nice river wide play wave mainly green with a foamy pile to the left.'
GRADING: 2 with some Grade 3 rapids at the end.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees overhanging and also across the river. Barbed wire. One bridge with a plank blocking passage.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: An easy and enjoyable trip. Grade 2 rapids are usually on bends in the first mile and a half. There are tree blockages and barbed wire fences on this section forcing portages, especially in high water. They aren't always obvious until you are close! There is a bridge at Brychgoed Farm which is partly blocked by planks. The next bridge (GR 928254) has the gauge weir below it, worth a look beforehand. After the weir the river is wider, some ledges provide pleasant play stoppers as you enter the village of Defynnog. You pass under the A4067. Below the river is trickier with a rocky weir to slide down and some falls/ rapids more significant than anything encountered upstream, maybe Grade 3 (finishing at the A4067 would avoid this). You now drop straight into in the River Usk in the centre of Sennybridge, and the stretch below is very enjoyable if you want to carry on.
OTHER NOTES: This was a bit scrapey at the level described. I recommend starting at the gauge weir to avoid most of the annoying obstructions; the river is more pretty below.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Heather Hutton, also Chris C.
It's a bit of a pain, but at least you get to paddle and have a long walk.