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Canoe and Kayak Hire


Afon Hafren


River Severn

Vies of Shrewsbury from River Severn

Afon Hafren / The River Severn is a free nagivation from Pool Quay to Stourport, and a BWB controlled navigation (licence needed) from Stourport to Gloucester. The official navigation offers 130 miles of canoe touring, and considerable variety. Much of the river below Pool Quay is grade I water, with some short sections of grade II and one grade III section. Below Bewdley, powered craft operate and from Stourport the nature of the river has been altered by weirs with locks to enable navigation by larger craft. While much of Afon Hafren / the River Severn flows through unspoilt countryside, the river offers a number of historcial towns, such as Yr Amwythig - Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Bridgnorth and other places of interest en route.

Backwaters hire canoes and kayaks to those with some experience, for day trips or extended tours on the river, starting at Pool Quay (the highest point on the official navigation). Various launching and landing points are possible along the river, to create a trip to suit your needs. Afon Hafren / The River Severn can also be incorporated into, or form the start and/or finish point for 'Waterways a la Carte'.

Open Canoe Camping. If you want to undertake an extended canoe camping tour, we can supply your canoe with tent, stove/fuel, sleeping mat and bag, and waterproof containers to pack it all in.

The route planner below may help you plan your itinerary. All distances are given by river from Pool Quay, and you will find current river-level information and weather forecasts for key points. It is recommended that you check with the camp site owners before setting off on your trip. Unless you are an experienced canoeist, we recommend that you do not attempt more than 10 - 15 miles per day.

Guidance on the experience needed to hire canoes and kayaks on the River Severn

Route Planner for Afon Hafren - River Severn


Canoe and Kayak touring is a peaceful and environmentally sustainable way to enjoy a day on the water with a waterside picnic, watch wildlife or spend a holiday exploring an area 'off the beaten track' moving between campsites or B&B's. And it's FUN!

Backwaters hire open canoes, open cockpit kayaks and, for the more experienced, closed-cockpit kayaks on a number of waterways in South Wales and the Borderland. Backwaters welcomes canoeists who want responsibly to enjoy the waterways and countryside, respecting other users and wildlife.

If you are not sure about your ability for unaccompanied canoe hire see our Guidance for Canoe Hire page. We offer Guided Tours and a 'River Awareness' Day. We can also arrange skills training courses at various levels from beginner to open and white-water.



is associated with

Mountain & Water: Wales-wide Adventure Ltd.

For guided tours, activity holidays and courses.

Distance from Vyrwy confluence (approx), Location and access (if applicable)
Afon Hafren / River Severn

Route Planner

 Facilities and local points of interest

Confluence with the Vyrnwy. The river widens as the Vyrnwy joins.

Check River Level at Crew Green

Confluence of Afon Vyrnwy (River left) with Afon Hafren - River Severn. The bridge at Crew Green is visible in the distance.

St Peter's 15th Century Church, a short paddle up the Vyrnwy from the confluence with the Severn.

Camp Site 01691 62754

0.75 miles

Royal Hill Inn

1.75 miles

Buckley Farm

Riverside Camping for Canoeists, basic facilities at the farm. Mr and Mrs Davies 01743 741336

10.25 miles

Montford Bridge

Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Check River Level at Montford

 Above: Montford Bridge

Shop in village

Pub: The Wingfield Arms.

River right, upstream of bridge.

Severn House Camping and Caravans

Tel. 01743 850229.

River left, downstream of bridge. Landing for canoes to canoeist camping area with firepit.

Above: Severn House Campsite

Wingfield Caravan Park Tel. 0785 393 4397 River right, upstream of bridge.

21.75 miles.

Frankwell, Shrewsbury


Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Launching/landing point.

Check River Level at Welsh Bridge

Shrewsbury Abbey from the River Severn

Historic City. Hotels/B&B's cafe's shops etc. Abbey.

TIC 01743 281200

Frankwell canoe landing, with the footbridge into Shrewsbury town centre in the distance.

Riverside Pub on the Shrewsbury 'loop'. 

23.75 miles

Shrewsbury Weir



Approach to Shrewsbury weir

26.25 miles



35.75 miles

Riverside Inn Accommodation and restaurant. Landing for patrons.

38.75 miles.

Cressage Bridge

Village Inn.

43.75 miles

Buildwas Bridge


Check River Level at Buildwas

46 miles


Video showing Ironbridge, and canoeists on the river Severn

With thanks to the author, who filmed our customers on the river.

Look out for the iconic Iron Bridge

45.25 miles.

Jackfield Rapid

Grade II-III+ rapids.

Inspect from LEFT

Half Moon Inn, downstream of rapid on right.

Accommodation and meals

Drop-off and Pick-up.

48.25 miles.


Coalport Youth Hostel Tel. 0845 371 9325

Woodbridge Arms. Inn, restaurant. 01952 2054

55.25 miles


Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Launching/landing point.

Check River Level at Bridgnorth
Met Office 5-day forecast for Bridgnorth

Canoes setting off from Bridgnorth.

Falcon Hotel (near to landing point) Tel. 01746 763134

Historic Town. Hotels/B&B Pubs. W.C. TIC. shops etc. Severn Valley Railway.

TIC Tel. 01746 763257

57.25 miles



60.5 miles

Hampton Loade

Camping. B&B at The Unicorn Inn, Tel. 01746 861515

Severn Valley Railway 01299 403816.

63.25 miles



Severn Valley Railway 01299 403816.

65.5 miles


Pick-up / Drop-off point .

Riverside Tea Garden, Post Office and Shop at Arley.

Tea rooms, Shop/PO. Inn.

Severn Valley Railway 01299 403816.

Arley Station on the Severn Valley Railway, close to the river.

68.25 miles


*Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Check River Level at Bewdley

Canoes Landing above the Riverside Walk, Bewdley Rowing Club opposite.


Historic Town. B&B's Hotels. Car park (fee) Pubs. Shops. Cafés

TIC Tel 01299 404740

71.25 miles

Lickhill Manor Caravan and Camping Park

01299 871041 -

73.25 miles


Pick-up / Drop-off point..

Start of British Waterways Navigation

(Please note that there is a licence fee payable beyond this point - this is included in our hire charges)

The river changes character below Stourport and there are locks and weirs on the following section. If you are not able to portage the locks, check with the lock-keeper before paddling, and notify numbers before arrival at the lock. 

Junction with the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.

Historic Town. B&B's Hotels. Car park. Pubs. Shops. Café

Canoes setting off from Stourport 

75 miles

Lincombe Lock

Lock keeper tel. 01299 822887


80 miles

Holt Lock

Lock keeper tel. 01905 620218

River Severn in winter - Holt Lock.

Inn 'The Holt Fleet' 01905 620286


Camping. Holt Fleet Farm Caravan Park 01905 620512

82.5 miles

Bevere Lock

Lock keeper tel. 01905 640275


86 miles.


Diglis Lock

Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Launching/landing point.

Check River Level at Diglis

Lock keeper tel. 01905 354280


Junction with Worcester and Birmingham Canal

Historic City. Hotels/B&B shops etc. Abbey.


TIC Tel. 01905 726311

87.75 miles.
Confluence with the River Teme

93 miles

Upton on Severn

Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Launching/landing point.

Historic Town. B&B's Hotels. Car park (fee) Pubs. Shops. Cafés

TIC Tel. 01684 594200

102.75 miles.


Pick-up / Drop-off point.

Confluence with River Avon

Launching/landing point (on Avon).

Confluence with River Avon

NB - beyond here the river is tidal.

Historic Town. B&B's Hotels. Car park (fee) Pubs. Shops. Cafés


TIC Tel. 01684 295027

101 miles

Upper Lode Lock

Lock keeper tel. 01684 293138

103.5 miles

Lower Lode

Launching/landing point (fee)

Riverside Inn, B&B. camp site, Lower Lode Inn 01684 293224.


105 miles.


108.25 miles.

Haw Bridge

Check River Level at Haw Bridge


114.75 miles.

Upper Parting

Take the left arm to reach Gloucester.

117.5 miles


Pick-up point.

Launching/landing point.

Check River Level at Gloucester
Met Office 5-day forecast for Worcester

Lock Keeper 01452 318000

Historic City.

Hotels/B&B shops etc. Cathedral.


TIC Tel. 01452 421188

Key to Table:

NB - the information has been collected to aid our clients in planning a tour on the Severn. Information has been drawn from the operators and from other published sources. We cannot accept responsibility for eany errors and omissions, and recommend that you check details in advance. Note that many of the campsites are very basic, and some need advance booking.

Pick-up / Drop-off point. - This is a point at which you may start or finish your journey. We will collect or deliver to these points.

Launching/Landing point - canoes may be launched or landed here. Unless stated, these are not pick-up/drop-off points.

Landing point - canoes may be landed here for access to facilities etc

Camping - camp-site beside or within reach of the river (unless otherwise stated).

Inn/Pub etc. Where these are listed, it is normally possible to land to visit the Inn.


Ordnance Survey 1:50000 series maps covering the River Severn (there may be some overlap).

Pool Quay to Cressage - sheet 126

Leighton to Coalport - sheet 127

Apley Forge to Grimley - Sheet 138

Worcester to Chaceley Stock - Sheet 150

Wainlode to Severn Road Bridge - Sheet 162

Use of Welsh and English place names: Where a the English name of a place differs from the original, Welsh name, the Welsh name is given first, in italics. Please see our 'Welsh Language Policy' for more information.


The river changes constantly and may rise rapidly in wet weather. Where rapids or weirs are marked, these are the particularly significant ones. There are numerous small rapids, weirs and other hazards along the route; you are advised to be sure of your ability before hiring canoes and/or kayaks, and to proceed on the river with due caution. Much of the river is remote and hire is completely unsupervised. You are responsible for your own safety on the river. If you are unsure of your ability, a River Awareness Day may be of interest to you. Other, larger, craft will be operating along the river. From Stourport, the Severn is a BWB managed navigation for which a licence is needed. Canoeists should be aware of the Waterways Code. River levels can be obtained by following the links on the route planner above.

Contact and Booking
Home Page
About Us
Types of Craft for Hire
Trip Planning Advice
Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated 20 April 2018