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Canoeing and Kayaking In Wales - 3 experiences

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Best Canoeing and Kayaking in Wales

Like England and Scotland, there are a wealth of places in Wales for Kayaking and Canoeing. Our favourite spots, just so happen to be in the three National Parks - Snowdonia National Park, Pembrokeshire and Brecon Beacons. Of course there are hundreds of lakes to explore and significant rivers. The longest rivers worth exploring are:
  • River Severn - 354 Meters
  • River Wye - 217 Meters
  • River Teme - 130 Meters
  • River Dee - 113 Meters
  • River Towy - 121 Meters
  • River Teifi - 117 Meters
  • River Usk - 90 Meters
  • River Taff - 64 Meters

As well as a wealth of rivers to explore, Wales is renowned for its selection of Lakes. Most lakes in Wales start with the word "Llyn", which translates to Lake in Welsh. Interestingly, 9 of the top 10 largest lakes in Wales are man-built reservoirs. The largest 10 lakes in Wales are as follows:
  • Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) at 1,196 acres
  • Llyn Trawsfynydd at 1,180 acres
  • Lake Vyrnwy at 1,120 acres
  • Llyn Brenig at 894 acres
  • Llyn Celyn at 800 acres
  • Llyn Alaw at 762 acres
  • Claerwen Reservoir at 655 acres
  • Llyn Clywedog at 601 acres
  • Nant y Moch Reservoir at 525 acres
  • Caban Coch Reservoir at 519 acres

Canoeing and Kayaking In Wales, UK

Best Places to Canoe and Kayak in North Wales

Paddling under Wales’ biggest Mountain, Mount Snowdon, offers a relaxing way to see stunning views, stunning cliffs and old slate mines. You can rent kayaks in several lakes and rivers around Snowdon or in Snowdonia itself. For views of Mount Snowdon, you can rent kayaks nearby Llyn Gwynant (where Lara Croft and Tomb Raider II was filmed), or to see views of old slate mines and stunning cliffs Llyn Padarn is a good place to start. Explore more Canoeing and Kayaking in North Wales

Best Places for Canoeing and Kayaking in South Wales

Pembrokeshire offers amazing sea kayaking with a wealth of wildlife from puffins, seals and dolphins. When paddling quietly, you reach attenborough-levels of nature with huge swaths of birds flying overhead and diving to catch fish in the water. Pembrokeshire should be on your bucket list for canoeing and kayaking in Wales.
Canoeing and Kayaking In South Wales
Brecon BeaconsAs well as offering a stunning mountain range for some of the best hiking in Wales, The Brecon Beacons has a wealth of waterways and lakes for all with options for Grade 1 (easy) up to Grade 6 (extremely hard) routes. The River Wye travels through the National Park, offering a range of kayaking and canoeing opportunities including white water for those looking for adrenaline-fuelled experiences. As a beginner, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal are good places to start, as the water is calm and protected from wind. If you want to set yourself a serious challenge, then you can try paddling from Hay-on-Wye to Bristol via the River Wye which goes for almost 100miles. You will need to check when you are able to kayak each of the routes as there can be rules on when access is restricted, especially over summer when fishing is more common – best to check with Brecon Beacons National Park to be sure.
Canoeing and Kayaking In North Wales

Safety Advice for Canoeing and Kayaking

A license is just one small part of the puzzle when it comes to working out where and when to paddle. See our list below on things to consider before going canoeing or kayaking:
  • Weather, flow, tides and visibility: Attention should be paid to the flow of the river by checking the environment agency website and others. A significant flow on the river can be caused by excessive rain, often hundreds of miles away, that over a number of days, pour into the river can cause significant currents. Whilst its often hard to see ‘flow’ just by looking at the river the National River Flow Archive can provide specific information on the flow to enable you to decide if it’s worth the outing. Often, it’s much nicer to paddle in calmer waters, rather than battling a surging river and having greater risk around meanders, bridges and other boat vessels, so this is something to consider. Likewise, wind, tide, weather and visibility should be taken into consideration when planning your canoeing or kayaking trip.
  • Conditions within your level of capability Always err on the side of caution when going out in your canoe or kayak and make sure you’re comfortable with the conditions of the water
  • Tell your friends: Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Ideally go with a group of people so if someone falls in, you’ll have others to help or raise the alarm
  • Get training: Book in a canoeing or kayaking instructor course or experience days on Beyonk
  • Practice falling in drills: In calmer waters and with the supervision of an instructor, practice how to fall in and what to do when you do fall in, so you’re prepared on what to do
  • Consider wearing safety equipment such as buoyancy aids, which can be life-savers in many scenarios even if you’re a strong swimmer. The water temperature, flow or taking a knock to the head can all present risks that will make your swimming skills useless and a buoyancy aid life-saving
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions of your paddle. Don’t risk getting soaking wet and cold in the rain if you’re going out for prolonged periods
  • Be aware of waterway restrictions, from boating lanes, military operations and more, to avoid any dangers
  • Make sure to get stacked up on nutrition and water to maintain energy levels if you’re going for over an hour's paddle.
  • Take a communication device, mobile or radio in case of emergency and call 999 if needed.

Best Places for Canoeing and Kayaking In Wales, UK

How to go Kayaking In Wales, Near Me

A license is just one small part of the puzzle when it comes to working out where and when to paddle. See our list below on things to consider before going canoeing or kayaking:
  • Weather, flow, tides and visibility: Attention should be paid to the flow of the river by checking the environment agency website and others. A significant flow on the river can be caused by excessive rain, often hundreds of miles away, that over a number of days, pour into the river can cause significant currents. Whilst its often hard to see ‘flow’ just by looking at the river the National River Flow Archive can provide specific information on the flow to enable you to decide if it’s worth the outing. Often, it’s much nicer to paddle in calmer waters, rather than battling a surging river and having greater risk around meanders, bridges and other boat vessels, so this is something to consider. Likewise, wind, tide, weather and visibility should be taken into consideration when planning your canoeing or kayaking trip. - Conditions within your level of capability Always err on the side of caution when going out in your canoe or kayak and make sure you’re comfortable with the conditions of the water
  • Tell your friends: Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Ideally go with a group of people so if someone falls in, you’ll have others to help or raise the alarm - Get training: Book in a canoeing or kayaking instructor course or experience days on Beyonk
  • Practice falling in drills: In calmer waters and with instruction of an instructor, practice how to fall in and what to do when you do fall in, so you’re prepared on what to do
  • Consider wearing safety equipment such as buoyancy aids, which can be life-savers in many scenarios even if you’re a strong swimmer, the water temperature, flow or taking a knock to the head, can all present risks that will make your swimming skills useless and a buoyancy aid life-saving
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions of your paddle. Don’t risk getting soaking wet and cold in the rain if you’re going out for prolonged periods
  • Be aware of waterway restrictions, from boating lanes, military operations and more, to avoid any dangers - Make sure to get stacked up on nutrition and water to maintain energy levels if you’re going for over an hour's paddle.
  • Take a communication device, mobile or radio in case of emergency and call 999 if needed.

Best Places for Kayaking In Wales

Where can I go canoeing or kayaking in Wales?

Unfortunately there are all sorts of restrictions on where you can go canoeing or kayaking in Wales, as many bodies of water are owned by different organisations and there are more specific protections in place. It’s not quite as simple as just rocking up to your closest river and going for a paddle. There have been stories of authorities asking to see licenses and being able to fine those canoeing and kayaking without a license.
There are some places where licenses aren’t required, like paddling in the sea, estuaries or most tidal water (which can often travel quite far up many rivers). However, these are the areas that require skill and experience to go paddling. Nevertheless, estuary and sea kayaking can offer some of the most rewarding experiences with sightings of seals, a wealth of other animals and stunning coastal scenes.
Canals and inland rivers can be great places to kayak and canoe as waters can be easier to navigate and manage than tidal waters. However, for many inland rivers in the UK you’ll need to work out whether you are able to canoe or kayak there due to both private restrictions and licensing restrictions. In Wales, check out the Canoe Wales website for the rivers where you can canoe or kayak under their membership. If there are any questions, you’re best off sending them a message to see what license is required (if any) for your stretch of river. Restrictions also exist for where land is privately owned (e.g. beaches), where there are environmental protection schemes such as Nature reserves, where there are military bases or activity happening or where there are restrictions due to safety such as avoiding shipping lanes, waste disposal or dangerous wrecks.
Best Places for Kayaking In Wales for Beginners

Canoe and Kayak Clubs, Hire and Lessons in Wales near me

Search through our map of hundreds of canoe and kayak clubs, places to hire equipment or find lessons. If you’re looking for something specific, drop us a message and we’ll find it for you.

Canoeing and Kayaking for Families and Kids in Wales

Canoeing and Kayaking are great family friendly sports. Canoes are more of the stable and spacious choice that allow for gentle and calm paddling experiences. Kayaking also offers the option for two-seaters that are a great way to bond with a friend or family member. Sea Kayaks and Touring Kayaks are incredibly stable, like Canoes, so it's more difficult to fall in or get wet. When it comes to the types of water to look out for, calmer water makes for a more enjoyable experience with kids. Look out for local lakes or canals for safer and more tranquil paddling. The beauty of canoeing and kayaking are that they are 'sit down' sports. The level of fitness required for both - at entry level - is relatively low, so most people can get involved with the sport.

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