Plan a canoe trip

Planning your trip

Daily river level information There is an automated telephone service called River Call which provides information on water levels for the River Wye. The telephone number for this service is 0906 619 7755 (BT premium rate).

Please follow the Code of Conduct for Tourists on the Wye by keeping yourself safe and wearing an approved buoyancy aid, life jacket or helmet if necessary. Be fishing friendly and show care for wildlife by not disturbing them. Be considerate of other river users and help keep a healthy river by ensuring all equipment is thoroughly dry, or disinfected with saline solution, before using on the Wye. This will help prevent the spread of disease and undesirable species.

Helpful publications. These three publications will provide you with all the information you need to know for a safe and enjoyable trip down the Wye. You can download them here.

Canoeist’s guide to the Wye Canoeist’s guide to the Wye Tour Canoeist’s code of conduct

Wye Canoe

Canoe Cover

Canoeists Guide to Wye Tour

Companies offering guided canoe trips

Plan a canoe trip

Join Monmouth Canoe on one of our group river trips, excellent social days out for people of all ages and abilities. This is a great way to explore the amazing Wye Valley by river as part of a group accompanied by an experienced and qualified river guide.  Our river guides will ensure you gain the most benefit from your trip, providing you with handy canoe and kayaking advice, tips and knowledgeable information about the Wye Valley and surrounding area.    

Plan a canoe trip

Discover the River Wye in an open canoe with Inspire2Adventure who provide guided open canoe trips along the picturesque River Wye.  Under supervision of our professional instructors, you’ll paddle your way through the Wye Valley.  Working in pairs, you’ll learn new skills and techniques and by the time you reach Symonds Yat you’ll be ready to shoot the rapids. 

Plan a canoe trip

Way2Go Adventures is a family-owned outdoor adventure and activity company, offering a variety of adventure activities including guided canoe and kayak trips along the River Wye, Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and raft building

Based in the heart of the Wye Valley at Symmonds Yat West, Wye Adventures & Wye Canoes provide Canoe and Kayak Hire, Stand-up Paddle Boarding, Climbing, Gorge Scrambling, Bushcraft Courses, Orienteering, Rafting and Archery. We hold licenses from British Canoeing, Adventures Activities Licensing Service (HSE) and we are a Duke of Edinburgh Approved Activity Provider.

Wyedean Canoe and Adventure Centre, located at Symonds Yat East, offer canoe hire, multi-day canoe trips, Stand-up paddle boarding, Kayaking and Raft Building on the River Wye. We run climbing, abseiling and caving sessions on and under Symonds Yat Rock. We can cater for children as young as 4 and can also tailor the majority of our activities to those who have disabilities

These companies also offer canoe hire:

Plan a canoe trip

Navigation Rights and Access

The River Wye has been used for navigation for hundreds of years and was an important commercial waterway, but the infrastructure that supported this, such as locks and weirs, has long gone. Today boating on the river is limited to canoeing, rowing and sightseeing boats at Symonds Yat. A public right of navigation on the Wye extends from the River Severn south of Chepstow, upstream for one hundred miles to Hay Town Bridge, and on the River Lugg between its confluence with the Wye and Presteigne Town Bridge. Public navigation of the stretch upstream of Bigsweir Bridge is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. Right of navigation on the tidal stretch below Bigsweir Bridge is under the auspices of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees. The right of navigation does not give a right of access to the riverbank other than at accepted public sites. Please respect private property and landing stages. You must get the permission of the landowner before launching and landing canoes. Permission is also needed to camp or picnic on the banks or neighbouring fields.

Canoe access with wheelchair user at Kerne Bridge

Launching and landing sites within the Wye Valley National Landscape

Canoeists may launch or land at the points listed without needing to get express permission, unless stated otherwise. Landing may also be made, with permission, at certain riverside campsites and through individual arrangements with some landowners. References to right or left bank refer to the river as viewed looking downstream, as on this map. There is wheelchair access to the launch sites at Ross on Wye and Kerne Bridge.

Hereford: Landing on right bank below old road bridge. No permission required. Car parking nearby.

Hoarwithy: Landing on left bank about ¼ mile downstream of bridge. Prior permission should be sought from Mr Jenkins (01432 840 223) for the left bank. Landing at steps on right bank. Fee payable for launching. Contact Mrs Roberts (01432 840 235).

Ross on Wye: Landing at ramp on left bank 100m below the Hope and Anchor pub. Wheelchair accessible ramped access. No permission required. Car parking nearby.

Kerne Bridge: Landing at steps on left bank 800m below road bridge. Wheelchair accessible ramped access. Picnic site and car park. No permission required.

Lower Lydbrook: Landing on left bank at the steps to the picnic site and car park. Launching for individuals but NOT groups. Donations requested in honesty box.

Symonds Yat West: Landing and launching from the steps on right bank about 1km upstream of rapids. Car parking. Fee payable. Landing at Ye Olde Ferrie Inne on right bank, permission required (01600 890 232).

Symonds Yat East: Landing and launching from the steps on the left bank at the Wyedean Canoe Centre (01600 890 129). Fee payable. Car parking.

Monmouth: Landing at second set of steps on right immediately downstream of rowing club, by car park. No permission required.

Brockweir: Restored stone landing on left bank just upstream of bridge. Awkward and muddy at low tide. No permission required. Very limited car parking in village. From this point, the river should only be used by experienced canoeists. No landing site at Tintern.

Chepstow: Landing on slipway near Boat Inn. Please note that landing here usually involves wading through soft mud that can be very dangerous. Limited car parking nearby.

canoe map of wye valley

Safety on the River

Tides and flooding

The Wye can be dangerous and has been the cause of many accidents. It is at its most dangerous when there are strong currents, high water levels or cold weather conditions. Don’t take risks and never underestimate the power of the river. The Wye is a fast flooding river, which can rise after heavy rain at a rate of over 30cm an hour. Check river levels by calling the automated telephone service River Call which provides information on water levels for the Wye. Below Bigsweir Bridge the Wye is tidal and can be very dangerous, especially below Tintern. If you intend to canoe this stretch, leave Tintern no later than one hour after high water and travel down without stopping. Inexperienced canoeists are advised to avoid this stretch and should on no account travel below Chepstow, as currents in the Severn Estuary are extremely dangerous.

Plan a canoe trip

Health and Hygiene

The water quality of the Wye is generally good, but contains natural bacteria and other micro-organisms. Although the risk of contracting an illness is small, there are sensible precautions which can help you stay healthy:

  • Do not swallow river water;
  • Cover cuts or sores with gloves or waterproof plasters;
  • Where possible, wash or shower after taking part in water sports, especially if you have capsized;
  • Wash your hands before eating;
  • See your doctor if you feel ill after exposure to the water. If you develop flu like symptoms it is possible you may have contracted Leptospirosis (a rare disease, but one which can have serious complications). 

Find out more

Plan a canoe trip

Photo © Crown copyright (2018) Visit Wales.

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