Symonds Yat

Alison Longhurst

OS Map 162 Grid Reference SO561160

Nearby Postcode HR9 6JL


Symonds Yat Rapids are a short section of the River Wye found in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Easiest access is from Symonds Yat East where canoeists should park in the Wyedean Canoe and Adventure Centre car park (there is a boat launch fee to be paid here alongside car parking). Putting in from these steps it is then just a short paddle down to the rapids.

The course, used for div 2/3 slaloms, is on the river left-hand side of the island and is Grade 2 water. The groynes channel the flow and produce a number of eddies which allow excellent practice for breaking in and out alongside some small waves. In higher flows the eddies wash out and the groynes produce some large waves ideal for surfing and more challenging crosses.

Whilst the rapids have been used as a training venue for many paddlers and clubs over the decades the slalom gates are not a permanent set up. However, in the last few years they have been set up on a Tuesday night from May through to October for practice along with some weekends. For information on using the course with gates contact

Camping is available at the Wyedean Canoe and Adventure Centre or there are a number of hotels and B&B options in Symonds Yat East. The canoe centre shop also sells a selection of canoeing equipment along with drinks and ice creams, while the pub, hotel and teashops provide more substantial food.

JS Grading: C

C: Faster current, sharper eddy-lines, some drops that can be intimidating, possible to set crosses on small waves, often rocky.

Even courses that are usually easy can become dangerous in exceptional high water conditions. If in doubt, seek advice or stay off the water.