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Thread: River Wye advice please

  1. #1

    Default River Wye advice please

    Hi everyone,

    I’m a newbie on here and hope that someone can help me.

    I’ve recently purchased a sevylor inflatable with a view to adding to my wild camping experience which I do with a mate, he is far more experienced on water than me.I’ve had one trip up the river beaulieu , bucklers hard and upstream from there and camped for 2 nights, hammock etc. I want to expand my trips so we are thinking of the river Wye for 3/4nights, wild camping not commercial sites if poss. It really is back to basic camping and we are both experienced in this. My problem is planning a suitable route which clearly avoids white water, happy to try that but it needs to be white water for a novice, if there is such a thing on the wey!I’m confident in water and the paddling I’ve done so far in a tidal river got the adrenaline pumping but I was in control, so I think from the research I’ve done so far would mean that the area around symonds yat and upstream would be ok. I have bought a couple of guide books but there is nothing better than speaking with people who have far more experience on this matter than I have.


    im 54 yrs young, and fit and healthy and really want to push my boundaries in a controlled fashion and wild camping combined with a kayak ticks all of my boxes, should have done it years ago!

    I’ve gone for the inflatable option as this is still very new to me, wanted something lightweight but durable to cope with just basic river and canals and also dovetails with the wild camping which is my first passion.

    i know wild camping is not to everyone’s taste and also understand the issues this raises, I never leave a trace and really do travel light and really keen to avoid people (I’m a grumpy old sod!), so the primary objective is to wild camp along the river. Take two cars, drop one off at the end point and come back in the other to the start point, obvious I know but again, the start and end points need to be accessible for the cars. I know I won’t be the first person to do this, quite the opposite, which is why I am asking for some help for those that are in the know.

    apologies for the length of this, thanks for reading and if anyone can point me in the right direction I would be really grateful.

    thanks again

    wsb
    Last edited by MagiKelly; 13th-January-2019 at 07:07 PM. Reason: spolling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    21,965

    Default

    Hello and Welcome!

    This is my home turf, and I wild camped by the Wey a week ago tonight. I'm not going to publicise exact spots along the Wey, for obvious reasons, but there are a few options.


    Firstly though, you say "River Wey". How high up were you thinking of starting? The navigation is just under 20 miles, so is probably pushing it to stretch to 3 or 4 nights. This starts at Godalming. Above there, its a little trickier, for the river is wilder and has LOTS of trees which can be dangerous to beginners. Its also slightly contentious, so you'd need to be quiet and respectful, but from your post, its clear you already know all about that so I have no doubt there.

    The navigation doesn't have many spots between Godalming and Guildford that wouldn't have people walking through. I'm sure you could get away with it, and there are bits of backwater you might manage that would be better.

    From Guildford to Send there isn't much, apart from bits where the A3 runs close by so it wouldn't be exactly relaxing.

    To access the most likely areas, you'd have to get onto the backwater below Gresham Mill at Old Woking, where there are a number of options. I'm not going to be more specific than that on a website!

    From Walsham weir, the navigation gets more urban, so less appealing. The river itself heads off into the countryside, taking an entirely different and beautiful route. I can't think of any options I particularly fancy for an overnight there though, its getting a bit "posh Surrey".

    If I'm honest, for that length of trip, I'd be looking at the Upper Thames. Taken at a relaxed pace, Cricklade to Oxford is a nice 4 dayer.

    A note of caution; whilst the rivers are currently low thanks to the lack of rain, in most winters I would be warning you off all the Wey backwaters as a newbie, and the bit of the Thames from Cricklade to Lechlade, as they can be fast flowing and full of dangerous tree "strainers".

    Paddlepoints has all your main launch and access points for both rivers, though with an inflatable your options might open up further.


    The Wey is a lovely river, I reckon you'd love it as a two dayer. May be worth giving it a go as a one day to get an idea of the wild camping options.

    You're welcome to message me.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  3. #3

    Default

    A major schoolboy error, here, just emphasis the newbie..memo to self...must check spellchecker and preview post before submitting, river wey, should read River Wye, might make more sense now...sorry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Dumbarton
    Posts
    2,710

    Default

    The most important resource is probably the recent guidebook:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/River-Wye-C...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

    Or the online river guides:
    https://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/rivers/wales/south/

    I've only done a few short sections of the Wye, there is a significant rapid a few miles down from Builth Wells which I reckon will be too big for you so you probably would be looking at getting on somewhere after that.
    The rapid at Symonds Yat is quite well known; there are several hire companies between Ross and Monmouth (one at Symonds Yat itself) and people with no paddling experience at all successfully survive the rapid in hired canoes each summer. At summer levels it really is very straightforward, all the water will be to the left of the island, just keep to the middle of that channel and ride out the waves. In flood the rapid is a very serious proposition and water may not only be flowing right of the island, but over it and through the trees which makes for a very dangerous scenario for inexperienced paddlers, so if you are going after heavy rain in the winter or spring do check the levels! There are several places to land in Symonds Yat, but don't land at the ferry slip, they really don't appreciate it.

    How hard can it be?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Claxton
    Posts
    671

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    Hi WSB,

    I've spent the last couple of summers on the Wye. If you don't want to meet lots of people I'd recommend going out of season. The upper section is fun and a bit quieter than around Symmonds Yat. I'd recommend paddling from Glasbury to Hereford. There are some wilder campsites that I'd recommend. Digeddi, Locksters Pool and Byecross Farm. All allow fires and are right on the river. I've not stayed at Locksters as they don't allow dogs, but it looked good when I paddled past! You could probably get away with some pitch late, leave early wild camping, but I think there is more scope for hassle doing this in the Wye valley than most other places in the UK.

    Robin
    The early bird may catch the worm... but the second mouse gets the cheese!

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks JimW& broadsman, the info and comments are very helpful. I’m still in the planning stage, which is half the fun and your guidance is very much appreciated
    cheers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    21,965

    Default

    Hi Rob.

    Further to the above, Rivers Publishing do a couple of maps that are actually quite and surprisingly durable. http://www.riverspublishing.co.uk/wa...e-canoe-map-1/ and http://www.riverspublishing.co.uk/wa...e-canoe-map-2/

    Like Broadsman, I really like the section between Glasbury and Hereford, it has a more remote feel than downstream. Mind you, it has nothing as spectacular as the meandering steep valley and limestone bluffs approaching Symonds Yat.

    Whilst I would certainly prefer to avoid the high season at weekends, once on the water I've always found it easy to escape the hordes even on a July or Aug weekend. Either set off early, or late, and you'll mostly miss them except at the bigger camping and launch spots.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

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