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Wales. Land of the Valleys, and of the mountains. Valleys have rivers in them, and mountains are great for walking, making Wales a fantastic place for adventure.

There are some great whitewater rivers in both the north and south, and the some of the best touring rivers in Britain have their source in the Welsh hills.

Its also a place that has adopted adventure into its heart, with great infrastructure already in place to make the most of your visits.

River Usk ledge drop

Wales has hills. Wales has valleys. Water flows from one into the other. Sometimes slowly, often quickly, and the rivers of Wales provide some of the UK's most accessible and fun moderate whitewater paddling.

South Wales has the Usk, the Tywi, Teifi and others. North Wales has the Dee, Vyrnwy, Banwy and the Tryweryn, plus dozens of lesser known alternatives. I've only paddled a fraction of what's available, and here you can read about just a few highlights of those trips.

This is a delightful section of a lovely river. A few miles downstream of the mighty dam of Llyn Brianne, the Tywi becomes reasonably amenable for the open canoeist. Here it travels, via a few small harder drops, through a series of remarkable and unique little gorges, places where moss lines the walls and tumbling little waterfalls drop straight into the river. Unfortunately, trees sometimes do the same thing, making this a more serious trip than it might at first appear.

canoeing, tywi, gorge, Dolauhirion

The section from Sennybridge to Aberbran is well known for its three "ledge drops", places where the tumbling water flows over a vertical river wide drop. They are well known for parting a paddler from his canoe. My own success rate is something like 2 out of 3 on each fall, I'd guess!

The valley is beautiful, and once the ledges are over, the stress is off and the canoeing delightful.

The Vyrnwy is tight, technical and with some harder drops, often needing portaging. Its maybe a bit more serious than some of the other rivers I paddle, but the challenge is rewarding, whether you succeed, portage or swim!


The Banwy is a little more relaxing, but a lovely place to paddle through the valleys of North Wales. It can be shallow, but is a great river for relative newcomers to moving water.

Another Welsh classic, this section of the Usk has lots of moderate moving water, with a couple of harder, more complex grade 3 sections, all set in a beautiful Welsh valley below the hills. A great section for an introduction to intermediate whitewater paddling.

Canoeing, Usk, Sennybridge to Aberbran, ledge drops, Wales
canoeing, Usk, Talybont, Mill Falls, Spuhler's Folly, Wales

A couple of times now, a big group of us have stayed at a wonderful place on the Mawddach estuary. With the shoreline outside of our door, mountain biking in Coed y Brenin a few miles away, and the slopes of Cadair Idris behind us, its a great place for a multi-activity holiday.

Moel Siabod is a stand-alone hill, looming over the little village of Capel Curig on the edge of the main mountains of Snowdonia.

This excellent hill has some superb views of Snowdon, the Glyderrau and Carneddau ranges, as well as some excellent rock features on the southern flanks, culminating in the simple by fun scramble of Daear Ddu

canoeing, vyrnwy, banwy

I've been walking in Wales all my life. Unfortunately, most of this was before I had a digital camera, and wrote up my trips, so this section will have to develop as I get there more often.

Snowdonia has some of the most spectacular mountains of Britain, yet they are more accessible than the Highlands of Scotland for most people. However, there are still many, many quiet corners where you won't see a soul. In the south, the Brecon Beacons National Park is wild and beautiful, with high hills, moorland and waterfall-filled valleys.

canoeing, Mawddach, estuary, Cadair Idris
Moel Siabod, hill, walking, capel curig, Daear Ddu
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