When and where paddlers can access the upper Wye - July 2020 onwards


July 2020 - A new access arrangement has been established for the Glasbury to Hay section. See below for details.

December 2018 - we have received reports from the school at Boughrood (Builth to Glasbury reach) that canoeists have been blocking access to their car park. Please ensure that that the area is used for unloading only and do not block the access to the school.

We have negotiated a number of access and exit points for paddling on the following 5 reaches, which total 90kms of river. Each of the reaches have their own specific conditions for access, given in the descriptions below. You are asked to remember that the right to cross land and canoe is given freely by generous owners and we rely on sensible use to sustain these arrangements. Please read the terms of each reach carefully before setting off. Most of these arrangements have been in place since 2007.

The sections above Newbridge-on-Wye are relatively small in size and flow. They are only useful for canoeing during spate flow conditions most likely in winter and early spring. These are shown by a red line on the relevant height gauges (Llangurig and Rhayader, viewable through our webcams) above which the levels are suitable for paddling. This is a environmental measure to protect spawning fish as well as to save you an unnecessary trip.

Please let us know of any issues via the contact us page. It is important that you appreciate that the Upper Wye and Usk are not suitable for novices and should not be attempted unaccompanied.

The Wye and Usk are also Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and care should be taken not to damage any bankside feature or disturb wildlife. To protect the rivers that you enjoy, you must take note of biosecurity measures. For more information on wildlife to be seen on this river, please see our Wildlife section.

The following specific conditions to the upper Wye reaches apply: 

REACH 1 - Llangurig to Marteg (10.9kms)

From Llangurig to Marteg canoeing can only take place when the water level is above the red line on the Llangurig gauge. This condition applies all year round, not just to the 16th March to 17th October period. Therefore, you may not canoe at any time on this reach when the water level is below the red line.

Reach 1 access and exit details (PDF)

REACH 2 - Marteg to Newbridge (20kms)

The Marteg to Newbridge reach is only navigable when the level is above red line on the gauge at Rhayader. This condition also applies all year round, not just to the 16th March to 17th October period. Therefore, you may not canoe at any time on this reach when the water level is below the red line.

Reach 2 access and exit details (PDF)

REACH 3 - Newbridge to Builth (11.4kms) AND

REACH 4 - Builth to Glasbury (39kms)

From Newbridge to Glasbury (2 reaches), canoeing can take place between 18th October and 15th March (inclusive) and outside this period when the Llanstephan gauge is above the red line (2' 5").

Reach 3 access and exit details (PDF)

Reach 4 access and exit details (PDF)

REACH 5 - Glasbury to Hay (8.6kms)

From Glasbury to Hay, canoeing can only take place when the water level is above 0.67m on the Glasbury gauge. Therefore, you may not canoe at any time when the water level is below these heights. Please do not stop anywhere on this stretch other than in an emergency.

Please also note that this reach has restrictions on where and when to launch and a time by which paddlers have to be off the water.

  • Departing canoes (including kayaks, paddleboards etc) should not pass downstream of a point 150 metres below Glasbury Bridge before 10.30am and not after 13.30pm. This allows parties to enter the water from the Bont above Glasbury before that time and be ready for the official launch time.
  • Arrival at Hay: All navigators should leave the water before 15.30pm.
  • All launching is also subject to the water height restriction detailed above.

Reach 5 access and exit details (PDF)

Overall conditions:

  • Navigation should be in a generally downstream direction.
  • You are responsible for your own safety and insurance. You enter land and water entirely at your own risk.
  • Use only the designated access and exit points for landing, save in emergency.
  • Follow the directions of anglers as to which side you should pass them on. Please avoid confrontation with other river users.
  • Please remember that consent to cross land and water is granted only on the terms indicated here and in the individual reach notes set out in the downloadable pdfs below. Continuation of the access arrangements relies upon all interests working together and conditions being observed for the benefit of all. 
  • Take all your litter home.
  • These consents apply only to the reaches indicated and on the terms expressed (note separate upper reach link to Rhayader & Llangurig gauges). It does NOT imply or authorise canoeing on any other tributary or stream.
  • Always observe the Biosecurity Measures.