GUIDE TO THE RIVER USK

(Talybont to Llangynidr)

NAME OF RIVER: Usk.

WHERE IS IT?: Flowing through a valley between the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, past Abergavenny.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: You could start on the easier bit upstream, or put in at the bridge crossing the river at GR 122233 OS map 160, near Talybont on Usk. Take out downstream of the bridge in the centre of Llangynidr, river left.

APPROX LENGTH: 4 miles.

TIME NEEDED: 1.5 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: There is an access agreement, some details can be found at http://www.welsh-canoeing.org.uk/access/rights_and_agreements.htm#usk. Also see http://www.mountainandwater.co.uk for more info.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: We paddled this in low water. It is almost always paddleable in winter.

GRADING: Mostly Grade 1 then a stretch of 3 at the end. This final rapid is apparently harder in high water.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: None.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A pleasant but unexciting trip. The first few miles are bordering on completely flat, but there are plenty of pretty views and sheep to admire along the banks.

Eventually you reach Mill Falls, a long rapid where a series of natural/ manmade weirs and rocky reefs cross the river. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and surf along this stretch. It should be possible to portage this rapid on river right, let us know if you think otherwise. After this rapid, the river eases again and shortly after you arrive at the take-out bridge.

Pictures of the Usk

OTHER NOTES: We arrived at this river in search of whitewater thrills, and were disappointed. However, it makes a great stretch to learn moving water skills and it really is a nice valley...another stretch of the Usk which offers more continuous but still easy rapids is that from Sennybridge to Nant Bran Bridgerecommended.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.

 

 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Usk - Talybont to Llangynidr -- stonercanoe
2018 Apr 22 01:01:36 PM
Ran Mill Falls sneak today (Sunday). The gate has barbed wire all over it. Going to take a piece of carpet next time to protect drysuits and boats.

Level lovely 0.9, however Llangynidr bridge, second arch from left is blocked by a tree. At this level no way through that arch.

Saw two fly fishing. No grief.

Jason
Re: River Usk - Talybont to Llangynidr -- morsey
2017 Jan 28 10:00:15 PM
It's an awesome section.



https://vimeo.com/185729382
Re: River Usk - Talybont to Llangynidr -- Mark Gawler
2017 Jan 28 11:21:50 AM
If anyone wants to update this or any other guide please get in touch with me via private message or email.
Re: River Usk - Talybont to Llangynidr -- stonercanoe
2017 Jan 28 05:40:57 AM
Simon if you know the locals' sneak you can run this in a summer evening.

If you check NRW river gauge at Llandetty the minimum for a kayak run 0.70, minimum for a canoe run 0.75. I want to leave some Royalex on my boat! Running it in massive water in a trad boat is a good test and great fun.

Jason
Re: River Usk - Talybont to Llangynidr -- SimonMW
2017 Jan 18 11:40:19 AM
It's a shame this guide is so derogatory about this section. It is the best section on the Usk! The first part from Talybont can be a slog. But Mill falls and beyond is a joy. Mill Falls itself can be run multiple times, with different lines and plenty to do. There's a good ledge drop for boof practice, and two other lines of Rapids for eddy slalom style practice. The middle of Mill falls at the same of the middle rapid has a great play hole, too. Just below the falls is a great little boulder garden, too. A short flat section leads to a choice of three routes. Far left is a bouncy G2 ride. Far right, and there's another little ledge that can be played in. Another short bit of flat past the confluence with the Corwen leads to an extensive G2-3 rapid, with some great surf waves (at anything but the lowest levels). Some small G2 then leads past Llangynidr bridge, where another bouncy rapid awaits followed by another ledge, which can form a sticky hole! Below this G2-3 offers more surf and play opportunities before arriving at Spulers Folly. Another good ledge drop for boof practice, or a left line at low levels for some technical practice.



In high water this entire run is a hoot, with big water G2-3, with wave trains well over head high, and maybe Mill Falls pushing a 4. There's far more to do on this entire section, even at low levels, than on the Sennybridge and Brecon sections of the river.
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