The itinerary from Pool Quay to Stourport - mileages, weirs, islands, bridges, camping, youth hostels, pubs, access, contact details and general observations. If I’ve got it wrong email me here.
For those canoeists
who just can’t stomach free-market environmentalism, I’ve italicised the
iGreen comments! Have a great trip. See also Privateers on the
miles; Pool Quay
Launch right above the farm bridge. This used to be the highest navigable point on the Severn. Tight bends between high banks for the next 12 miles or so.
8.25 miles; Llandrinio Bridge built 1775
Land left above the bridge. Camping. Mr. Nixon, Haimwood, Llandrinio Powys. Tel 01691 830764
Take centre arch.
12 miles; River Vyrnwy joins left
Up till now the river has been in Wales. For the next 1.5 miles it forms the border with England and then lies entirely in England.
Paddle ½ mile up the Vrynwy into Melverly for a pub, the Tontine Arms.
miles; Crewgreen Bridge.
Originally a railway bridge it now carries the road to Melverley.
14.75 miles; The Royal Hill Inn
Land left. Small caravan park behind the pub but canoeists usually camp in the field between the road and the river. Ruby, who ran the pub for many years, died in 2000. Her cousin Barbara now runs it. It is still a wonderful canoe friendly pub. Tel 01743 741242.
The Upper Severn canoe rally (open canoes) stops here every year. In 2002 it will be 11 May. Contact Drummond Outdoor for details.
MoD firing range left
No obvious landmarks but keep away. Wildlife loves firing ranges :)
18.25 miles; Old
railway bridge now dismantled.
18.75 miles; Shrawardine village
left just after righ hand bend.
Site of old ferry. Ferry cottage left.
Land left for access to village. The track from the village is labelled Ferry cottage but is public right of way. Ferry cottage owners are very friendly to canoeists.
22.25 miles; Montford bypass bridge A5
Picnic site toilets and car park. Mainly intended for drivers on the A5 but access is possible from right bank below the bypass bridge.
22.5 miles; Montford bridge
Built in 1792 by Thomas Telford. Either land right above bridge and camp in pub grounds (previously Wingfield Arms, now 2005 Old Swan). Tel 01743 850750 Super canoeist site.
Or land left below bridge and use the Severn House campsite. Tel 01743 850229.
Pass either side. Main channel left.
Bromley Forge. River Perry joins left
Bickley Coppice scout camp right
miles; Isle Grange
The river makes a 4.5-mile loop around The Isle ending less than 0.5 miles from where it started. But don’t try a short cut! It’s a lovely loop of river and there’s no access either side of Isle Grange.
Shelton water works right
Shopshire and West Midlands Show ground left
Coton Hill public slipway left. Access.
Launching ramp right 50 yards before Frankwell footbridge bridge. Access via council car park
Shrewsbury (a thirteen-bridge town)
34 miles; Frankwell footbridge 1979
Launching ramp just after the footbridge on right - Shrewsbury Marina Services.
miles; Welsh bridge built 1795.
There had been a toll bridge on this site as long ago as 1262
Land on pontoons left immediately after the Welsh bridge for access to Victoria Quay. Public landing provided by the council. The day i visited the gate at the top was locked!
34.75 miles; Port Hill footbridge. Built in 1922 by the Shropshire Horticultural Society and the residents of Port Hill to replace a ferry.
The Boat House Inn right
View from the bridge
Percy Thrower, the television and radio gardener, was superintendent of the parks and gardens on the left from 1946-1973.
Pengwern rowing club right.
Shrewsbury Boat club right
Shrewsbury school on the hill on the right. Charles Darwin and Michael Palin were pupils.
The Crown Inn right with landing stage. 50 yards before the next bridge
35.25 miles; Greyfriars footbridge built 1879
Rea brook joins right. It is said that the brook can sometimes be paddled up to The Woodlands Youth hostel, Abbey Foregate. Shrewsbury. Tel 01743 360179. Access to brook from council car park.
But in 2005 I could only get about 100 yards up stream.
35.5 miles; English bridge
Built 1774 but completely rebuilt to lower the steep gradient in 1927.
35.75 miles; Shrewsbury railway station bridge
Made up of three bridges. The middle, a beautiful brick arch, is completely obscured by the adjacent steel bridges. I presume the two ugly ones were built by British Rail. All three bridges now form part of Shrewsbury station.
36 miles; Castle walk footbridge
miles; Shrewsbury weir.
Portage left. Camping difficult at the weir but land left 500 yards below the weir for Castle Fields common land. Discrete camping possible.
Holywell or Goffs Island
36.75 miles; Telford Way Bridge
Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge 1
The Corbet Arms Inn left but no access.
39 miles; Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge 2
39.75 miles; Belvedere Railway Bridge
41.25 miles; Shrewsbury Bypass Bridge 3
Emstry island pass left
Chiltern island pass left
43.25 miles; Atcham New Bridge built 1929
Mock stone concrete. Land left above the bridge. Mytton and Mermaid Inn left.
43.25 miles Atcham Bridge
Built 1776 by John Gwynne who also built two other bridges over the Severn, the English Bridge in Shrewsbury and the Worcester bridge, as well as Magdalen bridge in Oxford. Beautiful looking but with stone piers on timber piles it became unsafe in 1924. It is now preserved as a national monument. Used as footbridge only.
River Tern joins left.
Wroxeter island pass right
48 miles; Cound
brook joins right
Island pass right. Sandstone cliff left
48.75 miles; The Chomondely Arms Hotel in Coundlane
Magnificently sited with views up a mile long reach of river. The landlord is happy to allow access and egress for patrons. Land right at the foot of the pub gardens.
Island just below.
51 miles; Cressage Bridge
Landing possible left above the bridge. Permission needed.
The Eagles Inn 0.5 mile
The next stretch to Buildwas, consists of wide meanders through the flood plain with the river flowing over a sandy bed. Lovely.
56 miles; Buildwas bridge built 1992
Caravan site marked on right bank below the bridge on 1981 OS Sheet 127 but I’ve not checked it out.
has been a bridge on this site since medieval times.
The first built by monks from the nearby abbey.
In the five miles from here to Coalport, eight bridges span the river as
it flows through Ironbridge gorge.
56.5 miles; Ironbridge “A” road bridge 1932
Originally providing road access to the old power station, it is now closed and only carries pipes. Click here for a picture.
57 miles; Ironbridge “B” road bridge 1963
Concrete bridge providing road access to the Ironbridge “B” power station.
57.25 miles; Albert Edward bridge built 1864
Railway bridge carrying coal to Ironbridge “B”
57.75 Car park and canoe ramp left.
The river enters Ironbridge gorge
58.25 miles; Iron Bridge 1779
The world’s first great cast-iron bridge. Cast at Coalbrookdale in 1779 by Abraham Darby III. Opened as a toll bridge in 1781. Tolls ended in 1950 whereupon it feel into disrepair. It was restored in 1979 and is now only a footbridge.
Town and shops left.
Youth Hostel: Paradise, Coalbrookdale. Telford. Tel 01952 433281
Islands. Pass left low water.
58.75 miles; Jackfield free bridge built 1994
An asymmetric cable stay from a 30-metre steel tower on the right bank.
59 miles; Jackfield Rapids
Land left to inspect.
These used to be grade 2, but following bank stabilisation work on the south bank in 2001 has become more difficult. Now grade 3 or 4 in some levels. There is now a stopper and a difficult wave train for the less experienced. Land left just below the rapids to dry out. This is also the landing point for the Telford canoe club campsite. Adrian Reynolds, Secretary, Telford Canoe Club, 68 Court Street, Madeley, Telford, Shropshire TF7 5EP. Tel 01952 409622. An excellent small site with basic facilities.
59.75 miles War memorial footbridge 1922
Land right below the bridge for the pub. There’s a campsite marked on the right bank on the 1981 OS map but I've never seen anyone camp there.
60.25 Coalport bridge 1818
No longer a toll bridge. In 2001 closed to vehicles for repair but nothing much happening when we paddled past!
Immediately below the bridge land right for the Woodbridge Inn. The landlord allows free camping in the grounds for patrons. An excellent site. He’s very relaxed, but if you want to phone first 01952 882054
63.25 miles; Apley Park Bridge 1905
Apley Hall left, another possible inspiration for Blandings castle. In 1896 when Wodehouse was 14, his parents moved to The Old House, Stableford, about 5 miles east of the river here. He would have visited Apley Hall. He later wrote in the preface to the first Blanding novel "my happiest days as a boy were spent near Bridgnorth." Norman Murphy in "In Search of Blandings" (1981) argued that Weston Park on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border was the model, but two more recent Wodehouse students have argued for Apley. Click here.
Apley Hall was one of the most beautiful private houses in England. It then fell into council hands and was used as a state boarding school until 1987. Click here to read about the school. The council then had no use for it but, being a public body, did not get round to selling it to someone who did. Instead they neglected it and despite (because of?) being a listed building it fell into disrepair. In 1999 a private company "Apley Hall Restoration Ltd" brought the Hall and prepared plans to restore it. They dealt with the leaking roof, aired the rooms, gave it a lick of paint and had a party and invited the neighbours. Then guess what? The council refused to approve the plans because the building was listed! In March 2001 John Prescott refused the company’s appeal. Keep visiting. iGreens are investigating and will have more to say on this.
miles; River Worfe joins left
High rock left
miles; Severn Park
Slipway and parking left bank.
Followed by Bridgnorth rowing club steps left.
67.25 miles; Bridgnorth Bridge 1810
This bridge has been continuously rebuilt and developed since medieval times.
Take right arch in low water.
have their HQ near the river and are keen canoeists; contact John Humphries on
Camp Site: The Old Vicarage. Tel. 01746 762301
67.25 miles; Bridgnorth bypass bridge 1985
The Danery Inn left.
71.75 miles; Mor
brook joins right
Cast iron bridge over Mor brook carries the towpath.
72 miles; South Staffs Bridge 1965
A private bridge carrying water from Chelmarsh reservoir to waterworks. Owned by South Staffordshire Water Plc.
miles; Hampton Loade
Passenger Ferry - current (2002) toll charges: Pedestrians: 50p each way
National Trust car park left. The
Lion Inn is an easy walk a few hundred yards downstream down a narrow road and
set back from the river. Unusual
pub. Good food but rather
uptight management. Difficult to
explain. Try it and tell me what
you think. Tell me also how
you solved the problem of getting back to camp after the ferry
The Unicorn Inn and camping right. Tel 01746 861515
73 miles; Island.
Run either side. Right more interesting. Whirlpools in the breakout on R.
74.5 miles; Alveley Colliery bridge 1937
The bridge is now used only as a footbridge.
75 miles; Highley.
Access right bank by the Inn. Camping upstream of buildings on right bank.
76 miles; Borle brook joins right.
76.25 Shallows and small rapid.
Pass left of small island
Upper Arley footbridge 1971
Quay left, and slipway right. Both above the footbridge.
Inn and Arley station on the right. The Severn Valley Railway appeared recently as the Hogwart Express in the Harry Potter films.
78.5 miles; Victoria bridge Upper Arley 1861
When built this was the largest cast iron bridge ever constructed, twice as long as the iron bridge.
It still carries the Severn Valley Railway. The Wyre forest is on the right.
Shingle bank 100 yards below bridge. Pass on left.
Island. Pass left taking channel down main chute of rapid. (You can pole up the backwater and run the drop as many times as you like. Paddling up is harder but possible, and tracking up with lines can also be done - mind the nettles!)
200 yards below the island is a rock ledge with a break on
the right hand side. (This can also
be jumped going back upstream with a pole, so you can run this a few times too.)
Severn pipe bridge 1900. Trimpley
Carrying water from the Elan Valley to Birmingham.
Access immediately after bridge on the left. Steps to small car park at the end of Rag Lane.
Railway bridge dismantled
Dowles brook joins right
81.5 miles; Bewdley bridge 1801
Designed by Thomas Telford. Originally a toll bridge the toll house was removed in the 1960s. :(
Rowing club left above bridge.
Land right above and below bridge. Also land left below bridge. Pay and display car park is on right 200 yards above the bridge.
Wyre forest canoe
club left below bridge
bypass bridge 1987
Island under bridge. Channel left
Gladder brook enters right and marks head of navigation. Below this licence required from British waterways Llanothy warehouse, Gloucester Docks, GL1 2EJ Tel 01452 318000. Also from lock keepers.
River deepens and powerboats appear.
Canal basin left below bridge. Junction with Staffs and Worcester canal and River Stour left
86 miles - Redstone Rock left
The highest lock on the river. Tel 012 993 2887
88 miles - The Hampstall Inn left
91.1 miles - Holt lock
There is camping at Holt lock
91.25 miles; Holt bridge 1828
Bevere island bridge 1844 , and Bevere lock
, and Bevere lock
99.25 miles - Diglis lock
The Worcester and Birmingham canal leaves the river left from Diglis basin just above the lock.
100 miles - River Teme joins right
Site of the battle of Worcester in 1651
109.25 miles A4104 bridge
Upton-upon-Severn right. The highest spring tides occasionally reach this far.
115 miles; Mythe
Designed by Thomas Telford at the same time as he was building the Menai Straights suspension bridge. He said “I reckon this the most handsomest bridge which has been built under my direction.”
Originally a toll bridge, the tolls did not prove adequate and in 1850 all debts had to be written off. L
And don’t forget the Severn M4 Suspension Bridge.
While the environmental damage from this government-built motorway is incalculable, at least the long suffering taxpayer was not forced to pay for all of it. It is a Toll bridge, so the polluting cars and lorries pay something towards the damage they cause. J
Sue Drummond's excellent Canoeist's Guide to the River Severn. Sue is the BCU Access Officer for the Severn, and can be contacted at Drummond Outdoor, South View, 8 Severn Bank, Shrewsbury SY1 2JD (Tel: 01743 365022) for a free copy.
Most of the bridge information came from Chris Witt's lovely book "A Century of Bridges". 1998. £3.50. Click here for details. Thanks also to Richard Lycett.
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