SUP the Wye - Day 1
LOCATION: Glasbury to Byford.
DISTANCE: 24.2 Miles
PADDLING TIME: 7 Hours, 10 Minutes
START: River Wye Campsite, Glasbury
FINISH: Byecross Farm Campsite
STRAVA ROUTE: https://www.strava.com/activities/3797464469
The River Wye Campsite and bunk house is a lovely place to spend the night before starting your journey. They offer a range of activities and can help plan your journey as well as supply equipment if you're not bringing your own.
A near perfect stone bank allows for a simple put in and start point for the journey. If you're not staying at the River Wye campsite there is public access to the river behind the public toilets on the North side of the Bridge. There are two campsites on the south of the bridge but both required launching via steps or a pontoon so not as easy.
Paddling at the end of July meant the river was about as low as it will get. For the vast majority it was possible to stand up in the river but there was still a reasonable amount of water flow to help nudge you along. If travelling by SUP I would highly recommend investing in a flexible 4" river fin as you will be nudging submerged rocks and the river bed along the way.
After approximately 6 miles you will see your first bridge across the river since Glasbury which indicates you are passing the charming town of Hay-on-Wye. Located on the right bank, Hay is set back from the river so it is easy to miss (as we did,) but is well worth a stop and mooch around if you're happy to leave your equipment by the river.
From there the river continues to meander its way through open fields with views to Welsh hills and mountains set back from the river. Even at the height of summer the banks are relatively low and standup up allows you to have a good view of the countryside you're passing through. At Whitney-on-Wye the river briefly runs parallel with the main road before sweeping away once more and leaving the rumble of traffic far behind you. The rest of the day is spent with more of the same along with a few sections of very minor rapids; easy to navigate if you're a mildly experienced paddler but if not, even a relative novice shouldn't have too much trouble if they kneel down whilst passing through.
Eventually you will arrive at Byecross Farm Campsite on the right hand bank. It's clearly signed and you will see a wooden dock with metal steps and a canoe shoot leading up to the field above. This was my second time staying at Byecross and it remains one of my favourite campsites in the UK. Set amongst an apple orchard with no set pitches, the ability to have an open fire and more choice of local cider than you could ever hope for. It's a wonderful friendly place and this was demonstrated by the three older gentlemen who were away celebrating 45 years of friendship and insisted we sample some of their apple brandy before retiring to bed.