River Wye: conditions, closures and restrictions
River conditions and restrictions and safety information for boaters on the Rivers Wye and Lugg.
A number of blockages and fallen trees on the River Lugg have been reported to the Environment Agency following the autumn gales and storms in November/December 2013.
Canoeists please be aware that the Lugg should be navigated with caution due to the rural nature of the catchment. Blockages can quickly form in remote locations as the river levels and flows fluctuate.
Safety on the River Wye
The Wye is a fast flooding river, which can rise quickly after heavy rain. When in flood it’s best to keep off the river.
We monitor water levels at all times and provide a recorded river levels service on 0906 619 7755 (see call charges).
The River Wye is most dangerous when there are strong currents, high water levels or cold weather. Don’t take risks and never underestimate the power of the river.
The river is tidal below Bigsweir Bridge, and can be very dangerous, particularly below Tintern. If you decide to use this stretch, leave Tintern not later than 1 hour after high water and travel straight through without stopping. High water at Tintern is 4 hours before Dover.
River Wye code of conduct
Guidance for all river users:
- obey the River Wye navigation byelaws
- show respect and consideration for other river users and owners of riverside property, full details are available in the Canoeists’ guide to the River Wye
Of particular importance on the River Wye:
- look after the environment; don’t damage the banks and bankside vegetation and take special care not to disturb waterweed and gravel beds
- it’s an offence to willfully disturb breeding fish or spawning beds - don’t disturb birds or wildlife; keep clear of nesting birds, areas important for breeding fish, and sensitive otter sites (especially in the Clifford and Whitney areas of the river)
- from October to April inclusive, trampling and launching on gravels used by salmon and trout may damage unhatched eggs and young fry; this is of particular concern upstream of Glasbury and when the water level is low
- protect native species and habitats; use dry or disinfected equipment if you’ve used it in other freshwater bodies
- don’t trespass on private banks or moorings
- hail to draw attention to a situation which might result in inconvenience, damage or collision; treat a hail as a friendly warning and not an insult
- competitors and event organisers should take into account the effects on other river users
- event organisers should display warning notices at each end of a stretch of river being used for competitions
- follow the Countryside Code and have regard for other people’s property
Guidance for boaters:
- except in an emergency, launch or land only at recognised access points
- don’t land on gravel shoals and islands between 1 April and 31 July when birds may be nesting
- give way to people taking part in competitions
- groups of young and inexperienced boaters should be led by an experienced leader, preferably a qualified instructor
- when boating in a group try to keep together, especially when passing anglers
- don’t get in the way of other boats by suddenly changing course
- remember that large boats are less manoeuvrable and can’t escape to shallow water like canoes, rafts and rowing boats can
Guidance for boating near anglers:
- look out for anglers; keep a good distance from them and avoid their lines
- pass anglers quickly and quietly, creating as little disturbance as possible and don’t loiter in fishing pools
- keep well clear of wading anglers or anglers in boats; leave enough room in front and behind for them to cast
- comply with any signals anglers make to indicate whether they wish you to pass by or wait a moment; hail if you think your approach hasn’t been noticed
- please leave the water if an Environment Agency Officer asks you to; such a request will only be made where there is a real risk of disturbance
- fishing from a boat isn’t allowed unless you have a valid rod licence and permission from the owner or tenant of the fishery rights; if you’re boating upstream of Hay-on-Wye you also need permission from the riparian owner