GUIDE TO THE RIVER WYE
(Builth Wells to Boughrood)
NAME OF RIVER: Wye.
WHERE IS IT?:Mid Wales. OS Landranger 147 and 161.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The start point is the car park in Builth Wells upstream of the bridge. The take out is at the bridge near Boughrood by the Bridgend Inn.
APPROX LENGTH: 11 miles.
TIME NEEDED: So long that I always say I will never do it again in a play boat (It gets worse the shorter my boat gets). Even in higher flows it takes a long time. Loads of flat water. 4 hrs+
ACCESS HASSLES: The section was closed for many years with a lot of trouble and gun toting landowners. It is now in regular use and though there are a few other places along this stretch that you could get on it, this could jeopardise the access again. Contact the River Advisor for dates and latest.
See http://www.mountainandwater.co.uk for more info.
Update from Rob (Jan '02)...'I was just talking to the River Advisor and checked for alternative access points. There is definitely no official access at any point between Builth and Boughrood on the Wye. For the water line for the Usk Wye etc tel 09066197755'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Take a look at Hell Hole on your way past in the car. If there is only water flowing down river right or very little over the ledges then the river is not going to exceed grade 2/ 2+. Otherwise what you see there is the best/ worst of it.
GRADING: Approx 11 miles of flat with a few small grade 1/2 rapids. Hell Hole and the rapid prior and after exceed this, particularly in higher flows.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: In high flows Hell Hole almost lives up to its name and there are some good sized waves and features. Some may even grade it as a 4 but make your own mind up because it can be seen from the A470 (stop before a white cottage and after a bridge approx three miles upstream from the Bridgend Inn). Certainly at some levels the rock formations form some nasties that look like they would be best avoided. Generally the route is river right. The rapid before and the one that follows Hell Hole might be grade 3 in higher flows. Generally river right is the route on both.
Mike Kelly (Dec' 01)...'Hell's Hole is on the section of the Middle Wye which runs from Builth Wells to Boughrood, it is towards the end of this quite lengthy section - just above Llanstephan Bridge. The Hell's Hole itself is a riverwide ledge with upstream facing rocky reefs above and below it. It is normally run on far right down a shoot - river left is v dangerous in medium/high water. A riverwide stopper forms in v high water (as on the photos I sent in) and it can then be run dead centre through a metre wide tongue (little room for mistakes as the stoppers you run on the way in can easily kock you off course).'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: It is a long pleasant trip on a nice day. It is a very popular stretch with open boaters. There are a few small play spots/ rapids that emerge at various levels and provide a bit of excitement as an intro to white water and the scenery is pleasant. At medium levels most of the play spots/rapids wash out leaving the run a bit featureless. At very high levels Hell Hole is harder but it is still a long paddle to get to it. The rapid that follows probably represents a better play rapid at most levels.
OTHER NOTES: A popular introduction to white water trip for our club.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Robert Macdonald, Wyedean Canoe Club www.wyedeancanoeclub.co.uk, also Mike Kelly and Chris Hudson.