The Warwick Canoe River Guide
Who Dares Swims
Map of river access and egress points (WIP)
The South West
Dart - Dartmeet to Newbridge (Upper Dart)
Water Levels: Low to Medium
Club river: No.
Get on: Dartmeet car park.
Get off: Newbridge car park, or can continue down the Loop.
If at least one person knows the lines in the levels it is possible to run it before the Loop on Refreshers
Dart - Newbridge to Holne Weir/River Dart Country Park (Dart Loop)
Club river: Yes.
Get on: Newbridge car park.
Get off: Layby with limited space next to Holne Weir, or can continue down to the River Dart Country Park (charge for parking).
The lay by(???) by Holne Weir is very close and easy. Only clubbable up to medium
Plym - Shaugh Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge
Grade: 3/4 for the first few hundred metres, then eases off.
Water Levels: Needs a lot of water. Medium on rainchasers is more like low.
Club river: No.
Beware of trees, not suitable for large groups.
Tawe - Moors
Water levels: Needs a lot of water. At 1.8 on the Craig-y-nos gauge it was runnable, but a little low. Tawe gauge may not be entirely accurate for this section, as it drains off very quickly. It should probably be raining as you get on. Becomes quite silly in super high water.
Club river: Certainly not.
Get on: Driving upstream from Craig-y-nos Country Park, turn off the A4067 on the left at the crossroads. The road follows the river up onto the moors. There is a small car park where the river bends to the left and heads away from the road. Get on as far up the river as you can be bothered to carry your boat.
Get off: Immediately after the last feature (see below).
A series of drops and slides. Small groups recommended. Get out on river left after the river drops into a narrow section (see picture) to avoid the grade 5 gorge which is apparently full of trees. It can be difficult to stop at times.
Tawe - Middle
Grade: 4- to 5 dependent on level.
Water levels: Probably not worth running below 0.7 on the Craig-y-nos gauge, which is on river right just after the get on (or on Rainchasers). In low and medium levels, the river is grade 4. In spate (1.2+) it becomes a much more serious undertaking, pushing towards grade 5.
Club river: No.
Get on: Craig-y-nos Country Park. There is pay and display parking. Carry your boat through the park to the get on.
Get off: Parking along Riverside Gardens, opposite the Ancient Briton pub. There are steps up to here from the river.
The following description is for low and medium levels (0.7-0.8).
From the get on to the first road bridge is a stretch of fairly continuous grade 2/3, with a few weir-like drops. After the bridge the river becomes slightly more difficult, approaching grade 3. The second road bridge heralds the coming of the slides. At most levels there is a large eddy river left after the bridge, and the slides can be inspected from the river left bank. In high water these generate monstrous stoppers and can be sneaked on the right.
More features lead down to the right-angle waterfall, which can be inspected from river right. Apparently the landowner here can get a little hostile at times. It is possible to carry back up on river right to lap it.
Tawe - Abercraf to Twrch Confluence
Water levels: Last thing to reach scrape in Brecons, but still needs okay rain in past week
Club river: Could be
Get on: Small access road off of A4067 near Heol Tawe junction. Possible decent gorge section above this but harder
Get off: Glan Yr Avon by Twrch confluence, loads of residential parking and a massive lay-by
A bit weir-y but most can be portaged in higher flows. Gauge is not very accurate for scrape/low boundary.
Club river: Unsurprisingly no.
Get on: Follow the track from the small car park next to a cattle grid after driving upstream out of Pontneddfechan.
Get off: Dinas Rock car park.
This river is a significant step up from the Tawe.
Starts with a bang a dodgy seal launch into a pool immediately above a 15 foot drop, BELOW Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn. The drop is shallow but don’t boof flat in low water or it will hurt.
Running the 15 foot drop immediately below Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn.
Shortly after this, a beach on river left heralds the grade 5 Sgwd y Pannwr (otherwise known as double drop). This waterfall is difficult to see from above, so get out river left to inspect as soon as you see the beach. This is normally run down the double drop river left, but the main line has also been run, sometimes even deliberately.
A sub-optimal line down Sgwd y Pannwr
As of November 2018, there was a nasty tree in one of the features below Sgwd y Pannwr, round a blind corner. It may be possible to sneak this far river left dependent on the water level. The river then starts to gorge up. The crux of this gorge is the imaginatively named Slot Drop, which consists of a slot followed by a drop.
Drop (softer than it looks)
After you exit the gorge, there are a few more features to deal with. The river splits around an island, with the right hand channel narrowing down to a several metre wide pourover- a fun playspot for creek boats! Later on there’s a vertical weir, which looks like it would get particularly unpleasant in higher levels. You probably won’t get out of it without help, so don’t screw it up! A set of wooden steps on river left mark the get out, just before a bridge.
Rhondda Fawr - ALDI
Water levels: Use the gauge on the Taff at Pontypridd. It’s possible to scrape down above 0.85 ish. At 1.9 on the same gauge it becomes a stiff grade 4 with some massive holes.
Club river: Probably not
Get on: Park at ALDI in Porth. Walk down towards the river and cross under the bridge before getting on.
Get off: Turn off the A4058 at a bridge over the river signposted towards Barry Sidings Countryside Park. Turn left and follow the road down to a car park behind the cricket club, next to a playground.
Perhaps the most disgusting river in Wales, but well worth a paddle as long as you keep your mouth firmly closed. From the get on, occasional grade 2 features lead you down to a pipe bridge that you may need to duck under. The first feature, Spin The Wheel*, is marked by a railway bridge with two square tunnels (Red, left and Black, right**). These are almost impossible to inspect from above, so good luck! Left looks a bit manky in low water. These are followed by some slabs, which generate big waves and holes in high water. Another bridge follows, before the last feature is heralded by a small road bridge. This can be inspected whilst running the shuttle. In high water, make sure you keep right after the last feature as a big hole can form river left. The take out is shortly afterwards on river right. Time to cross your fingers and hope you didn’t lose.
*Will totally made this name up.
**Will also made these names up.
Dee - Horseshoe Falls to Town Falls
Water levels: It always runs, more water is trickier
Club river: Yes
Get on: The top carpark (paid) above horseshoe falls - also has a smaller free layby
Get off: Car park behind Ponsonby arms (paid). Either first eddy river left after town falls or portage town falls from river right
Town falls is not fresher appropriate except for very low water
Tryweryn - Upper
Water levels: It’s dam release. Release information can be found at https://www.nationalwhitewatercentre.co.uk/. There’s a release most weekends during the summer
Club river: No.
Get on: Can pay for shuttles to the top or continue along the road for 1km until you get to the top car park
Get off: Tryweyn national whitewater centre after ‘the fingers’ or continue on down to Chapel falls then walk back to the centre
Very good section of ‘artificial’ whitewater. A great choice even in wetter months, huge variability between features.
Starts off with a boulder garden then switches to pool-drop features after ski-jump
Tryweryn - Lower
Grade: 2/3 (4)
Water levels: Dam release, but levels can be increased by rain.
Club river: No.
Get on: Whitewater centre carpark (£7pp) or campsite parking (£5) 200m further downstream
Get off: The road bridge at Bala
Difficult to lead on, lots of blind corners and trees.
Water levels: Needs a lot of rain. You can inspect Back Door Man from the road that leads to the Clachaig.
Club river: Lol no.
Get on: Loch Achtriochtan. There is parking in the layby opposite the turning off to the Clachaig.
Get off: Parking is available at the Glencoe Visitor Centre. A gate across the road from this leads to the river.
Back Door Man
Grade: Park and huck, take a look at it
Water levels: Only really goes when everything else around is too low.
Club river: No.
Get on/off Park at Elphin Community Hall (https://goo.gl/maps/DUB1qtCXAzfYPb6u7) and go through the gate next to the green building/concrete outhouse. Follow the track down towards the fish hatchery. The river is over the hill to your right near the bottom of the track. It’s between the two lochs so is fairly trivial to find.
The river itself is about 100 m. There are a few small drops to warm up on before you come to the main event, which starts with a double drop that looks like it lands directly on rocks. It does, but it’s cleaner than it looks. There’s a small pool afterwards, which is immediately followed by a ~10 foot waterfall. Watch out for the undercut river left. This section is known as the loch to loch, for obvious reasons.
The Main Event