Information to help boaters on the River Wye
Details of access points, events and facilities on the River Wye.
The River Wye is 251km long. It drains a catchment containing a rich and varied landscape spanning the Welsh and English borders. It rises in the uplands of mid Wales, flowing past the towns of Rhayader, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth, entering the Severn Estuary at Chepstow.
The Environment Agency is the navigation authority for the River Wye, from Hay to Bigsweir Bridge. Navigation on the tidal Wye, below Bigsweir, is the responsibility of Gloucester Harbour Trustees.
The Wye Navigation Advisory Committee meets in spring and autumn, helping to maintain sustainable recreation and navigation on the River Wye.
For details of the committee and a copy of approved minutes, please email email@example.com.
River access for boaters
Boaters have legal access on the River Wye between Hay-on-Wye and Chepstow (where the River Wye enters the Severn Estuary). Upstream of Hay-on-Wye there are a number of negotiated access points.
Access upstream of Hay Bridge
- there is no confirmed legal right of navigation upstream of Hay Bridge
- during the summer water is often very shallow
- you should always get permission from the owner of the river bed (usually the owner of the riverbank) before you access the river
- permission to launch on a particular section doesn’t entitle boaters to pass over the bed of the river belonging to other owners downstream or upstream
- there’s an arrangement to share access and river use between anglers and paddlers; please refer to the Wye & Usk Foundation for further details
- the upper Wye isn’t recommended for beginners, or boaters who don’t have considerable experience of white water
Access downstream of Hay Bridge
- the public right of navigation doesn’t give a right of access to the river bank downstream of Hay Bridge, except in an emergency, or to prevent one
- other than at accepted public sites, you should get permission from the owner of the riverbank before you launch or land your boat
- you will need permission to camp or picnic on the banks or neighbouring fields
River Wye event calendar 2017
There may be river restrictions around each event.
If you are participating in an event make sure you’re aware of the Wye Code of Conduct; a guide to using the river without reducing the enjoyment of others or damaging the environment:
|Sunday 6 August||Civic event and fair at King George V playing fields||Hereford First World War Commemoration Committee|
|Saturday 12 August||Wye Float 2017 from Hereford Rowing Club to Iron Bridge, Hereford||Wye Float 2017 committee|
|Saturday 26 August||Ross Dragon Boat Racing at Ross Rowing Club||Ross Rowing Club|
|Saturday 26 August||Wye Camp – Hoarwithy||PaddlePlus Canoe Camp|
|Sunday 27 August||Wye Camp – Hoarwithy||PaddlePlus Canoe Camp|
|Sunday 27 August||Ross Rowing Regatta at Ross||Ross Rowing Club|
|Sunday 27 August||Fun Raft Race and Super Raft Race at Hereford Rowing Club||MadSat Raft Team|
|Monday 28 August||Wye Camp – Hoarwithy||PaddlePlus Canoe Camp|
|Monday 28 August||Ross Rowing Regatta at Ross||Ross Rowing Club|
|Sunday 3 September||52nd Annual Raft Race from Monmouth Rowing Club to Whitebrook||Rotary Club of Monmouth|
|Sunday 17 September||A Trust Riverfest Qualifier – all waters||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 24 September||Wild Wye Swim – Lydbrook to Symonds Yat||Severn Area Rescue Association|
|Sunday 24 September||Monmouth Autumn Head at Monmouth Rowing Club||Monmouth Rowing Club|
|Sunday 1 October||J Burrows Charity Match – all club waters||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 8 October||Winter League – Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Saturday 14 October||Slalom at Symonds Yat rapids||Cheltenham Canoe Club|
|Sunday 15 October||Slalom at Symonds Yat rapids||Cheltenham Canoe Club|
|Sunday 29 October||55 Wye Championship on River Wye at all club waters||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 5 November||Winter League - Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Wednesday 8 November||Hereford 3 Day Festival - Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Thursday 9 November||Hereford 3 Day Festival – Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 5 November||Bonfire and Fireworks night at Monmouth Rowing Club||Rotary Club of Monmouth|
|Friday 10 November||Hereford 3 Day Festival – Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Saturday 18 November||Angling Trust Riverfest Final – Bartonsham and Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 19 November||Angling Trust Riverfest Final – Bartonsham and Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Saturday 25 November||Angling Trust Riverfest Final – Bartonsham and Belmont (reserve date)||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 26 November||Angling Trust Riverfest Final – Bartonsham and Belmont (reserve date)||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 10 December||Monmouth Winter Head at Monmouth Rowing Club||Monmouth Rowing Club|
|Sunday 3 December||Winter League at Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 17 December||Winter League at Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
|Sunday 31 December||Belmont open at Belmont||Hereford and District Angling Association|
If you are planning an event or know of an event which isn’t on the Environment Agency calendar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like more information about an event please contact the event organiser:
To help you plan and enjoy your canoe trip on the River Wye the Environment Agency produced a detailed guide to the River Wye, Canoeists’ guide to the River Wye or you can buy a hard copy online or in bookshops near the River Wye. Updates for the 2009 and 2011 editions of the canoeists guide are available online Updates to Canoeists’ guide to the River Wye, July 2012
The guide contains practical information to help plan your journey, featuring:
- a series of 12 maps, based on Ordnance Survey data
- navigation and recreational advice
- health and safety guidelines
- where you can launch and land
- river grades for the Wye
- tourist information on local parking, refreshments, camping, useful addresses and telephone numbers
- Code of Conduct for the River Wye
The Environment Agency are indebted to Ron and Ruth Shoesmith who wrote previous editions of this guide and to the late Allen Greenhill who was the co-author of the first edition in 1968 and the inspiration behind its publication. The Environment Agency would also like to thank the local access officers of the British Canoe Union and the Welsh Canoeing Association, who provided advice on the contents of this guide.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this guide is accurate. No liability can be accepted for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. In particular, readers should note that details such as land ownership, camp sites and landing places can change
Published: 12 May 2014
Updated: 4 July 2017
- New event date and associated contact details added.
- New event dates added to calendar and associated contact details.
- New event dates added to calendar and contact details updated.
- Change to information in 'Access downstream of Hay Bridge' section
- Event calendar updated with 2017 details.
- Notes about access restrictions downstream of Hay Bridge
- Old dates from event calendar removed
- Old event dates removed from calendar
- Events calendar updated
- organisation contact details changed and new dates for October added.
- January to June event dates removed.
- New event date added to calendar and Monmouth Triathalon Club details added
- New event dates and contact details added.
- Update information about how to get copies of approved minutes.
- New events and contact details added.
- New event added
- New date added to event calendar and new entry added to contact list.
- New dates added to events calendar
- Event calendar updated.
- First published.