For those of you who wish to push themselves on the water then this is the one for you.
Known as the Wye 100 because it is exactly 100 miles from Glasbury to Chepstow which is the end of the River Wye as it joins the River Severn some 134 miles later after they both start at Plynlimon in the Welsh mountains. Not for the faint hearted as it is four long days, paddling around 25 miles per day, with the last one that must be accompanied by a guide (one of our local experts or you can bring your own provided they hold the necessary qualifications) as the river is tidal for its final part from Bigsweir Bridge to Chepstow where it meets the mighty River Severn. But is you are seeking a river challenge that includes travelling through some of the finest countryside in Britain on probably the best river in the UK then this is without question the challenge for you.
We have planned everything here for you, you will be camping on the first night at Byecross Farm Campsite, an excellent campsite with showers etc, the second night will be at Hoarwithy at Tresseck Park Campsite, there is a pub on site and it’s an ideal overnight camping location. Then the third night you will be in Symonds Yat and can stay at either our bunkhouse (sleeps 9) or maybe camp at River Wye Camping or stay at any one of many great hotels in the area. We are unable to book the campsites for you and if you wish you can choose different accommodation along the way, these suggested sites are tried, tested and divide the days up nicely.
Day 1 - Glasbury to Bycross, 22.5 miles
Starting at Glasbury early on the first day there are many small rapids to wake you up and it’s pretty shallow over the first few mmiles, in low water be prepared to get wet feet as some rapids may need to be waded especially with loaded canoes. We launch just above the bridge at Glasbury and travel downstream passing the Hollybush Inn after 3 miles and the Boatside Weir after another 2 miles, this is a natural weir on a right hand bend, which is normally passable on the right but in really low water it’s definitely worth inspecting before shooting
. Then another half a mile downstream is Hay on Wye and the Welsh Border, a great little market town and famous for its book festival every year. There is a broken weir under the bridge and is best shot on the right hand side, for the next 200m there are lots of shallows and sometimes no clear route so be careful or you may get wet feet again. A further 3 miles downstream you will see the ruins of Clifford castle on the right bank, formerly an important border castle and after another mile Rhydspence and the border between Wales and England, the old Inn on the main road (left bank) is the “first house” in England. It’s only a mile or so now until you reach Whitney on Wye and the old demolished railway bridge and shortly after the famous toll bridge.
Whitney Toll bridge which was built in 1774 is one of the few private bridges left in the country, you travel down stream passing the Boat Inn where there is a small rapid set into the left bank and then Locksters Pool is 2 miles further down river which is a deep pool on a sharp left hand bend where large catches of salmon can be found. 4 Miles further is Turners Boat where you pass the Island on the left then there are numerous small rapids for the next few miles until you pass under the bridge at Bredwardine, then just another mile or so further you turn a sharp bend under the red sandstone cliffs at Brombury Scar. One Mile further on and you pass Moccas Court on the right bank and paddle past what is left of Moccas Toll bridge then another mile downstream and you are at Bycross and the end of your first day.
Day 2 – Bycross to Hoarwithy, 28.5 miles
After leaving Bycross you will start to approach Monnington Falls, you can land on the left gravel bank to inspect the falls, the channel except in flood conditions, is to the left of the island with a small flat at the top. Inspect the whole run of fast water for obstructions and fallen trees before paddling. Shortly after Monnington Falls is Preston on Wye where you will see a church on the right hand bank, then half a mile further is Byford, you will see a few houses on the left hand bank. There are weedy shallows as far as Bridge Sollers. Landing is on left bank 200m below pumping station, in front of black & white cottage. Its an overgrown area and a site of an old ford, there is access to the road down a narrow lane. You are now 10 miles from Hereford. After 4 miles you pass New Weir, there is no weir there today but a large attractive walled garden on the left, well maintained by the National Trust, with surviving masonry and a cistern from the Roman period, another 2 miles further and pass to the left of the island at Breinton Common then its just 4 miles to the Rowing Club at Hereford.
Hereford grew up around an ancient river crossing, which explains its name, meaning ‘ford of the army’. Among the many places of interest are the cathedral and a medieval chained library, the Old House museum, Museum of Cider, city walls and the old castle site at Castle Green. A variety of river crossings include the disused iron railway bridge at Hunderton, the modern Greyfriars Bridge, the Wye Bridge built in 1490 and the elegant Victorian suspension bridge of 1898.
After leaving Hereford the river winds its way through the countryside for 8 miles until the confluence of the River Lugg on the left then shortly after you pass underneath the Holme Lacy Bridge and you should see Lucksall Caravan Park on your left where you can purchase ice creams and supplies. Another 3 miles further down stream you come across Mancell’s Ferry where signs will tell you to keep right around the bend, after another mile you will see Capler Hill, a steep wooded slope on the left bank, leading to the double ramparts of Capler Camp, an Iron Age hill fort. A wide variety of birds inhabit these woods and dappled fallow deer may be sighted, from here to Ross the river follows several large meanders. A mile further down stream are Carey Islands, a group of islands with rapids in between, the best course in normal water is the right of the first island, then shortly after is Carey, a demolished railway bridge. One of three railway bridges crossing the Wye between Ross and Hereford which were dismantled when the Hereford to Gloucester line closed in 1964.
Just a couple of miles further is Hoarwithy, you will pass under a road bridge (pic) and the village is on the right. You can land here for a charge at Tresseck Campsite, there is a post office, a pub, New Harp Inn and the prominent ‘Italianate’ church of St Catherine’s which has featured in at least 3 films. Its a great little campsite that allows open fires and has toilets and a water tap.
Day 3 – Hoarwithy to Symonds Yat, 24.5 miles
After leaving Hoarwithy you will see Sellack Suspension footbridge 2 miles down river and Strangford bridge (demolished railway bridge) another mile further, after another mile you will see Fawley Chapel on the left bank and shortly after that How Caple and the Inglestone Estate, for 2 miles downstream the salmon pools are indicated by red and green discs fixed to the trees, please observe and paddle on the green side of the river. Another mile further and you will be at ‘Hole in the Wall’ formerly the PGL canoe centre on the left bank with private access just above the rapids. Just after that is Foy, you will see an elegant suspension bridge, built after an earlier structure was swept away by floods in 1919. The current is restricted by small islands and the channel varies according to level, church on right after 400m.
Then its only a mile or so to Backney Common where a simple metal cross sits on the left bank. This commemorates an act of bravery by the rector of Brampton Abbotts in 1904, who died whilst saving his son and his daughters friend from drowning. Demolished railway bridge (pic) is then just 400m downstream at Backney. Be aware of obstructions and weeds caught up on the bridge. Then Ross is only another 3 miles downstream, for camping options in Ross we would suggest Ross Rowing Club after that there is a long curve on the river to Wilton Bridge and The White Lion. The public landing spot is on the curve after The Hope and Anchor pub on left a few hundred meters before Wilton Bridge, and the White Lion is as you pass under the old bridge as you leave Ross.
The market town of Ross-on-Wye sits attractively on a rise above the river, with a backdrop of wooded hills, interesting features to visit include the market house, plague cross and museums. Car parking is nearby. Leaving Ross you pass under Wilton Bridge and a 13th Century castle on the right just before the bridge. Use the middle arch of the bridge and the channel to the right of the island. The river then winds it way through fields and woodland until after 5 miles you reach Goodrich Castle, an impressive Norman fortification set against the skyline on the right, it is managed by English Heritage and open daily throughout the year, its also a great place to park and begin a walk along Coppett Hill and back up the section of river that you are about to paddle down.
Not long after Goodrich Castle you will reach Kerne Bridge (pic) where it’s best to pass through the large middle arch and if you like you can land on the gravel bank 50m downstream of the bridge to inspect the fast water for obstructions and fallen trees. The public landing stage is 800m further down river on the left, you will recognise the sloping wheelchair access. It’s another 2 miles before you reach Lower Lydbrook where you will need to go to the left of the island to avoid the over hanging trees. There is a picnic spot on the left with access to public toilets and The Forge Hammer Pub. Half a mile downstream on the right you will see Welsh Bicknor Church and Wye Valley YHA, followed by a railway bridge that is now used as a footbridge, from now on the river is an important fishing stretch and we advise that you pass through quietly and please do not land.
Symonds Yat Rock is another 2 miles further with Bowens Field on the left just before the river bends underneath Yat Rock (pic), you will see the viewing area 150m up the limestone cliffs on the left as you paddle underneath, and maybe hear and see the Peregrine Falcons that nest in the area. The next stretch of the river runs north through fields with Coppett Hill on your right, it is a great place to see deer and many forms of wildlife. You are now not far from Huntsham Bridge, which indicates a mile or so to Symonds Yat.
Once you reach Symonds Yat you are looking for a small beach oppsite 2 large rocks and a sign say “Symonds Yat, Launch and Landing for Wye Canoes Ltd which will be on the right bank as you travel down river this will also indicate the 13 mile stage of the day and over half way. This is where we are based and probably where you parked up before beginning your trip. There is a range of accommodation in Symonds Yat from riverside Inns like the Ferrie to hotels like The Old Court and The Paddocks Hotel, on a budget or prefer to something a little more basic then you could stay in our 9 bed bunkhouse (contact for details) or The Ferrie Inn also has a bunkhouse, or maybe camp at River Wye Camping right here in Symonds Yat West.
Day 4 – Symonds Yat to Chepstow, 24.5 miles
After leaving Symonds Yat with your guide on the last day the grade 2 rapids are 15 minutes downriver. After passing through the rapids you will be in one of the best parts of the Wye Valley, with it steep carboniferious gorge walls you will see Seven Sisters viewpoint on your right not long after passing under the suspension footbridge at Biblins campsite. The next landmark will be Hadnock Island which is just before you enter Wales, the Island is best passed on the left and is approx 5 miles from Redbrook. You will know when you are entering Wales as you approach the dual carriageway and will see the Wyastone Estate.
As you approach Monmouth you will see the town on the right with a ruined castle, a market, Nelson Museum and the Navel Temple high on Kymin Hill. Monmouth derives its name from the Monnow river which is bridged by a unique 14th century fortified gate house. You can land at the second set of steps on the right just after the rowing club and before the bridge. After the bridge the river is very shallow and best channel is on the left of the river, you will then see the Monnow river joining the Wye on the right. Beware of underwater obstructions from the demolition of the two railway bridges. For the last couple of miles you are back into the Wye Valley gorge and there are plenty of rocky shallows in this stretch of the river. It will only be a short while before you reach Redbrook, landing is on the left after the disussed railway bridge pictured below.
Redbrook has a number of shops and an nice pub on the opposite bank to the landing stage. It was at Redbook that the last recorded act of piracy took place on the River Wye when men came down from the Forest of Dean and captured two barges. There is no record of their arrest. Here there is a lovely pub to stop at for lunch at The Boat. After 3 miles or so you will see Bigsweir Bridge and an old engine house on the right hand bank from the old railway.
The Bigsweir also indicates the tidal limit of the Wye which means you are getting closer to Chepstow and your goal. 800m downstream of Bigsweir Bridge (pic) you will find rapids and a further mile you will reach Llandogo a small village with shops and an Inn on the right. You will find some rapids between here and Tintern and the banks become very muddy due to the tidal waters. The next bridge is Brockweir Bridge and you now have less than ten miles to Chepstow, you will recognise Brockweir Bridge as the Quay just above the bridge on the right hand bank was recently rebuilt, below this point the river is tidal, which is why you need to be accompanied by one of our guides. Just after the bridge there are some small rapids at low water.
A further 2 miles downstream is the ruins of Tintern Abbey (pic) a magnificent 12th century Cistercian abbey and very popular tourist attraction.
From here on the tide can be considerable, which is why there is a necessity for you to be accompanied by an experienced guide and you will paddle the next few miles down to Chepstow with your guide following the flow just after high water reaching your 100 mile goal in next to no time, if requested and if possible due to tides we can take you out of the Wye and join the massive Severn Estuary and finish under bridge at Beachley and your final goal. It will be a great accomplishment and one you will remember forever.