The Severn Way
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The Severn Way is a 210 mile (338km) walk through the Welsh borders. Beginning at the River Severn's source in Powys, mid-Wales, this guidebook gives all the information needed to enjoy walking the route. The Severn Way meanders through superb landscapes, interesting towns and villages before finishing near Bristol, in south-west England.
- May to September should avoid both the usual periods of flooding and the glutinous aftermath they bring.
- Main centres are Worcester and Gloucester; marginally lesser centres are Newtown, Welshpool, Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Stourport and Tewkesbury, plus numerous small villages and hamlets.
- Any regular walker would find no difficulty following the Severn Way; once descended from the Hafren Forest and the upper Severn, then easy riparian loveliness ensues all the way to Severn Beach. Equipment and clothing for day walking is adequate, plus extra in the way of liquid and food.
- Must See
- Flowing through the most superb landscapes and past appealing towns and villages, the River Severn pulls together threads of history, trade, commerce, civil war and the lives of ordinary folk. That walkers should want to trace its course, its many twists and turns, is hardly surprising, not least because this is the longest river in the UK.
The 220 miles of the River Severn, the UK’s longest river, run from the heights of Plynlimon in mid-Wales down to the Bristol Channel at Severn Beach, through the historic counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.
As well as a largely downhill walk through peaceful landscapes such as the superb Hafren Forest, easily accessible from the pretty towns along the route, the Severn Way, which follows its course, is also a packed with historical and geographical interest.
The Severn Way can take more than three weeks to walk. There is however, much to be said for tackling the Way over a number of visits. For example from the source at Plynlimon to Shrewsbury; Shrewsbury to Bridgenorth; Bridgenorth to Tewskesbury; Tewkesbury to Severn Beach,
Divided into four sections that correspond with the four main counties (Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire) through which the River Severn flows, this guidebook offers all the information walkers need to make the most of their backpacking trip, from source to sea.
- description of the official route, with an additional variant start over Plynlimon and route back to Bristol from Severn Beach
- illustrated with OS map extracts
- plenty of background information about all the places passed along the way
The Severn: Source to sea
About the route
Weather and when to go
Getting there and transport
Preparation and fitness
Maps and GPS
Using this guide
Stage 1 Rhyd-y-benwch to the source
Variant start Eisteddfa Gurig to the source via Plynlimon
Stage 2 Source of the Severn to Llanidloes
Stage 3 Llanidloes to Caersws
Stage 4 Caersws to Newtown
Stage 5 Newtown to Welshpool
Stage 6 Welshpool to Crew Green
Stage 1 Crew Green to Montford Bridge
Stage 2 Montford Bridge to Shrewsbury (English Bridge)
Stage 3 Shrewsbury (English Bridge) to Atcham
Stage 4 Atcham to Ironbridge
Stage 5 Ironbridge to Bridgnorth
Stage 6 Bridgnorth to Upper Arley
Stage 1 Upper Arley to Stourport-on-Severn
Stage 2 Stourport-on-Severn to Worcester
Stage 3 Worcester to Upton-upon-Severn
Stage 4 Upton-upon-Severn to Tewkesbury
Stage 1 Tewkesbury to Gloucester Docks
Stage 2 Gloucester Docks to Upper Framilode
Stage 3 Upper Framilode to Frampton-on-Severn
Stage 4 Frampton-on-Severn to Sharpness
Stage 5 Sharpness to Oldbury-on-Severn
Stage 6 Oldbury-on-Severn to Severn Beach
Stage 7 Bristol Link: Severn Beach to Bristol
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Useful contacts
Appendix C Facilities along the Way
Maps and GPS
To cover the entire walk, the following maps are required:
- OS Landranger: 126, 127, 135, 136, 138, 150, 162, 172
- OS Explorer: 14, 154, 155, 167, 179, 190, 204, 214, 215, 216, 218, 219, 240, 241, 242
There is an increasing number of satellite-linked GPS systems on the market these days, some of which contain the mapping you need for given counties or long-distance trails. The precision of these significantly reduces the risk of error, and are very reliable guides in poor visibility.
They are no substitute for the ability to read conventional mapping or for possessing navigational skills, but for some years the author has been confidently using a Satmap Active 10, with appropriate 1:25000 mapping on SD cards. SD mapping for the counties of Powys, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Avon are necessary to cover the entire walk.
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The suggested alternative start from Eisteddfa Gurig is straightforward as far as the summit of Plynlimon Fawr. But the section from there, over Pen Punlumon Arwystli to the source of the Severn is often trackless, very demanding and boggy, and should be contemplated only by strong and experienced walkers, and, preferably, in clear weather conditions.LLANIDLOES - ALLT GOCH WOODLANDPlease note: the route description of the walk through the Allt Goch woodland is correct, but the accompanying map does not match the description. See here for a new map.
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Dr Terry Marsh is a Lancashire-based award-winning writer and photographer who specialises in the outdoors, the countryside, walking and travel worldwide. He has been writing books since the mid-1980s, and is the author of over 100 titles.
Terry holds a PhD in Historical Geography and a Master of Arts degree (with Distinction) in Lake District Studies, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (FSA Scot), a member of the National Union of Journalists, and an Honorary Life Member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.
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