River Wye: Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat East

Symonds Yat East rapids

Day  trip. Gentle grade 1 river, paddling with flow. Optional short stretch of rapids at end. Wye valley provides scenic backdrop. Good for practising ITP / 2* skills, or just a pleasant day out. Allow 5 hrs paddling time including lunch, eddy hoping and messing about (a straight run would be much quicker). Photo of Symonds Yat East rapids: S.Young 

Getting there:

Kerne bridge / OS map ref: SO 583 188 / SatNav HR9 5QT
M4 to Wales, turn off on to A449 towards Monmouth, becoming the A40
Turn off A40 where it's signposted to Symonds Yat East and Goodrich Castle, and get on the B4229. Stay on the B4229 until you've crossed the Wye at Kerne Bridge, then turn right on to B4234 towards Coleford. After a short distance, turn right into the car park signed for the Bishopswood village hall.

From Bath: 65 miles  / 1 hour 30 mins (each way).

Bishopswood village hall car park. The launch site is a concrete jetty with ramps, a hundred yards from the car park.
Car park is free and there are toilets at the village hall. There are pubs nearby.


Unload and change at Kerne Bridge, then shuttle to leave all but one car at the get-out: Symonds Yat East (see below). Allow 30 minutes for shuttle.

On the Water:

Gentle grade 1 water for most of the trip apart from a short stretch of rapids at the end at Symonds Yat East. These can be avoided by exiting just prior to them at the car park landing stage on river left.

Trip length: approx 10 km / 2+ hrs paddling time (not including stops/lunch etc).

Gentle paddling and canoe poling on the Wye
Photos: S.Young 

Open canoes or sea/touring kayaks recommended.


You need to take lunch/snacks/drinks. There are plenty of options for picnic lunch on route - shingle beaches at places, rock shelfs on the river's edge and fields. There is one pub near the river at SO 596 169.


Symonds Yat East. / OS map ref: SO 561 160 / SatNav HR9 6JL

Directions from Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat East: Drive back over Kerne bridge and along B4229 to Goodrich. Shortly after Goodrich, take the left turn to Symonds Yat East. At Symonds Yat East turn right to get down to the riverside car park, campsite and pub.

Car park cost: Allow £3+ for car parking and £1.50 for launching/landing fee.

Toilets/changing: There are toilets at the side of the car park before the Saracen's Head Inn.

A couple of pubs next to car park serve food daytime and evening. Open all year.

Emergency Get-Outs

Temporary emergency stops
possible along most of the route (gentle low banks etc) to empty boats / get back in etc.

Road access get outs:
Lower Lydbrook


30 mins at either end of day to load/unload boats x 2 = 1 hr.
90 mins travel time from/to Bath (one way) x 2 = 3hrs.
90 mins shuttle & changing x 2 = 3hrs
Allow 5 hrs paddling time to get to Symonds Yat East: including lunch, eddy hoping, messing about  (a straight run would be much quicker).
60-90 mins for playing on rapids at SYE, (or sitting in pub garden).
Total: 7 hrs travel inc boat un/loading and shuttle, plus however long you want to take on the river. You could easily make it a 12-hr day

Other Info:

This is a good trip for beginners in open boats,as long as the river is not too high. There is plenty of time to practise skills, and try new things like sailing, and it is a trip that could be extended with overnight camping at Symonds Yat East. Photo: G.Preston

Canoe sailing on the Wye

Original write-up: Stephen Young, May 2013

this is a guide only. River levels can fluctuate frequently and change an 'easy' river into a 'dangerous' one in a matter of hours. Likewise tides, wind and weather can change an 'easy' sea trip into a dangerous one as quickly. It is your responsibility to check the content is accurate and assess conditions on the day. The 'skill level' is a guide only and assumes favourable water and weather conditions.

Spotted an error ? Have an update ? mailto:trips@bathcanoeclub.co.uk

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