Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links

  Severn boating  


 The River Severn 

The River Severn is the longest river in Britain. It rises in the mountains of Wales and follows a circuitous route for over 200 miles before reaching the Bristol Channel and the sea .janetb on River Severn

severn-boating map of River Severn For centuries it has been a source of water and food and has acted both as a barrier and as a major route of travel.

Much of the history of Britain is chronicled on its banks. Roman remains, battlefield sites, castles and abbeys are still preserved.

Once navigable, although always with great difficulty, as far as Welshpool it was at one time one of the major waterways of Europe.

Today, 'the inland' part of the River Severn is navigable between Stourport and Gloucester.

From Gloucester, the navigation avoids a hazardous part of the Severn and follows the Sharpness Canal.

The total navigable distance from Stourport to Sharpness is some 50 nautical miles.

 Boating on the River Severn 

Access to the navigation is via the sea lock at Sharpness or from the inland canal system at Stourport, Hanbury and Worcester or the River Avon at Tewkesbury.

At high Spring tides the River Severn may be tidal as far as Upper Lode Lock.

Under normal conditions, the inland River Severn poses few navigational problems.

However, the Severn may flood at any time and caution is needed if the river level is high.

The riverside towns of Stourport, Worcester, Upton, Tewkesbury and Gloucester were once important inland ports and are now attractive tourist centres.

severnboating map of Severn
severn river lockThe locks on the River Severn are large wide locks. You will be surrounded by high walls and will not be able to step on or off your boat.

This photo of a narrowboat is taken inside Upper Lode Lock.

All the six locks on the River and the sea lock at Sharpness are manned and may be contacted by telephone or VHF.

Although once a major commercial waterway, activity on the River Severn is now mainly associated with the tourist trade.

Pleasure cruisers and narrowboats abound and large cruise and restaurant boats may be encountered on any stretch of the Severn.

Large freight barges transporting sand and gravel aggregate operate on the stretch of the river below Upton.
cruise boat conway castle

Because commercial craft still use the River Severn, it is important that Skippers' have a basic knowledge of the rules of navigation.

The River Severn and Sharpness Canal are under Canal & River Trust regulations which require craft to be licensed, insured and subject to a Safety Certificate.


Index River Severn Sharpness Canal Severn Estuary Bristol Channel Tides Skipper's Reference Ports of Call Canal Boats Severn Links

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