New Access Arrangement For River Wye Conflict Zone

Saturday 25th July, 2020

We are pleased to announce that there has been a conclusion to the negotiations for access arrangements covering the private five mile section of the Wye between Glasbury and Hay.

For decades this section of the river has been a source of conflict between the private fishery interests and paddlers. Despite it being upstream of the Wye’s public right of navigation, it has often been treated as such by paddlers with little consideration to other river users or the environmental sensitivities of the reach.

The new arrangements that have been agreed with the fishery owners mean that paddlers are now able to proceed downstream from Glasbury lawfully and without conflict, providing they are only using the reach at certain times and at certain water heights.

The terms of the arrangement enable paddlers to proceed downstream from a point 150 metres below Glasbury Bridge after 10.30am and before 1.30pm. This allows parties to enter the water from the Bont above Glasbury before that time and be ready for the official launch time. Navigators must also be off the water at Hay before 3.30pm.

Permission to launch under the above times also depends on the river being above a certain height, an essential clause to protect the delicate ecology of this section of the Wye. If the water height is below 0.30m on Natural Resources Wales’s gauge at Hay or 0.67m on the Glasbury gaugeall paddling must cease.

On days when water levels are high enough, the arrangements give navigators up to five hours on this reach. They are designed to concentrate paddling at the best time for paddlers, while allowing anglers the chance to fish in peace during the rest of the day.

We would like to thank the fishery owners for their cooperation and would like to stress that it has always been important to them during the negotiations to ensure the benefit of any arrangement was for children, educational purposes and for individuals rather than commercial canoeing interests.

Of course, the nature of any compromise is a necessity to give a little. So it is very much hoped that the arrangements are supported by the canoeing interests who now have owners’ permission to paddle the Glasbury to Hay reach and at no cost. Such compromises are the basis to end conflict between different river users and access arrangements can be used to build a peaceful and equitable way forward across Wales.

For more details on Glasbury to Hay access and the rest of the Upper Wye and Usk arrangements, please see here.

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