(Ross on Wye to Symonds Yat East)


WHERE IS IT?: Herefordshire, on the border with Wales. Difficult to say whether this is a English or Welsh river! Ross on Wye is a pleasant tourist town. Symonds Yat East is a popular and beautiful spot for tourists, well signposted.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: From town, find the A49 where it crosses the river by a bridge. Put in below the Hope and Anchor Pub on river left.

Finish near the caravan park/ car park at Symonds Yat East, you will probably (and unfairly?) be charged a 'launching fee' in addition to paying for parking.

There is a public Canoe launch point half way between Ross-on-Wye and Symonds Yat at Kerne Bridge. The grid reference for this is SO583188.

The launch point is situated on the left hand bank approximately 200 yards below the bridge. There are public conveniences and a car park. The launch has concrete steps up from the river to a picnic area.

There is also a another public launch at Lower Lydbrook again with concrete steps and small carpark. The grid reference is SO597168.

Toilets are across road and 100 yards up hill from this location. There is also a public house that has a good reputation for there food opposite the launch. A small picnic area can also be found at this location.

After you pass the water extraction plant coming into Lower Lydbrook you need to keep to left hand side of Island (as you are coming down the river) as the right hand side sweep you into thick over hanging trees low to the water, or submerged.

APPROX LENGTH: 14 miles.

TIME NEEDED: 4 hours or more.

ACCESS HASSLES: One of the few rivers in our country with a long and undisputed Right of Navigation, from Hay on Wye at least. This has not stopped efforts to alter the management and character of the river in recent years.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is paddleable at all levels. There are pictures in the Saracens Head Pub (Symonds Yat East) of the river flowing...through the pub!

GRADING: Grade 1. Mostly completely flat.


GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A lovely trip, especially in warm months.

There is little to describe en route (although you might want to visit Goodrich castle after 5 miles) but there are a number of pleasant pubs conveniently beside the river to look out for!

A mile before the finish at Symonds Yat East is Symonds Yat West, with a cable ferry across and a pub on river right. Also near here is a great 'seal launch' rock on river left.

Symonds Yat East (the finish) is unmistakeable, look out for the second cable ferry across the river. Downstream of here is a glorious stretch of river, including the famous rapids. If you have the energy, why not carry on to Monmouth?


Jim Thornton (April 2004)...'I've been canoeing it below Glasbury for 30 years and a couple of years ago did a river itinerary on an environmentalist website I run.'

Merlin Jo (not so new to open canoeing!) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. offer some comments...'As a new comer to open canoeing, (i.e. first ever trip) this section of the Wye is a total must. Easy to paddle and with some excitement (the Symonds Yat rapids). Sadly the campsite at Symonds Yat is over priced and under facilitied. Why not make the rapids the last thing of the first day and run them and stay at Biblins campsite. Forestry Commission owned, clean, better showers and toilets and the pubs only 20 mins walk back upstream.

Stopping off on route for a pub is slightly tricky as there are no real easy landing spots and a scramble up hill.

Watch out for the Steel railway bridge. The suuports are round and a good eddy is set up behind.


Finally (and a sad note) the car park at the put in at Ross is known to thieves - don't leave anything in sight)'

Anyone willing to write info on the other stretches of this classic river?

Guy Austin (May 2006)...'I've just bought some roof bars for my taxi so I can now offer a canoe transfer service for those who are canoeing on the River Wye. I can pick up at most of the main landing areas between Ross on Wye and Chepstow and take you and your canoe back to your car and starting point. I can carry one canadian canoe or 3 kayaks. I also have cycle racks for cyclists needing transfers. I also give 20% discount on metered fares for canoeists and cyclists. more details on 01600 775408 or

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Jim Thornton, Guy Austin and Merlin and Jo.