Canoeing and Kayaking

The Brecon Beacons National Park offers an array range of options for paddlesports, from the tranquillity of canals and reservoirs to extreme kayaking over jaw-dropping waterfalls.

Where to get on the water

The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, the River Wye, the River Usk and Llangorse Lake are the most popular destinations for canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, whitewater rafting and raft building.

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Thanks to its shelter from the wind and its lack of current, the canal is an easy place for beginners to get started.

All craft using the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, including canoes, must have a British Waterways Boat Licence, which is included in membership of the British Canoe Union or the Welsh Canoeing Association, or can be purchased from the Canal and River Trust

(tel 0303 040 4040,

Where to go

Canoes can be hired at Gilwern. If you’re bringing your own, park close to the canal at Goytre Wharf (between bridges 74 & 75), Lapstone car park (adjacent to Lapstone Bridge – bridge 76), Gilwern, Church Road Wharf (bridge 104), Pencelli (bridge 155) or Brecon Basin (bridge 167).

River Wye, River Usk and smaller rivers

The best-known river access points for canoeists are Brecon Promenade on the River Usk and Glasbury or Hay-on-Wye on the River Wye. At these, you can launch your own canoe for free, hire a canoe, or join a guided paddle. Both are gentle when the water level is low, particularly the Wye, but definitely not for beginners when it’s high – reddish-brown coloured water is a sign.

The highly picturesque 100-mile stretch of the River Wye from Hay-on-Wye to the Bristol Channel has year-round right of navigation and is perfect for touring.

Elsewhere on the Wye and the Usk, access is restricted according to the rules set by the Wye and Usk Foundation (, which represents some riparian land-owners and fisheries. You can generally only canoe or kayak during the winter when there is no fishing and shooting, or when the rivers are in spate. The Foundation website gives clear instructions about where and when you can paddle and has webcams which show the water levels. On the Usk, you can paddle all the way from Sennybridge to Llangynidr (21 miles) and from Llangynidr to Crickhowell (5 miles).

Smaller, steeper rivers within the National Park such as the River Tawe and the River Sawdde are not currently subject to access arrangements. These are popular with experienced

white water paddlers when in spate, providing exhilarating and taxing runs even for the very best paddlers. Beware of fallen trees and fences built across the stream for conservation and livestock control as you may suddenly meet one round a bend without warning.

There’s a lot of information in print and online about paddling the rivers in the Brecon Beacons National Park. An excellent local paddling guide is available from online shop and other good bookshops. The Welsh Rivers by Chris Sladden, Tom Laws and Patrick Clissold (Chris Sladden Books, 2012) and The UK Rivers Guidebook ( also cover the area.

Please find links to local activity websites and things to do during your stay in the beautiful Brecon Beacons.

Whether you are looking for fun activities, or just simply a walk with breathtaking views, the surrounding area has something for everyone staying to enjoy.

Logo backwaters

01873 831825
07527 941245
Find us on Facebook
Please note, we no longer give a postal address, as this leads to confusion if people try to use it with a satnav when travelling to hire locations. If you need to send post to us, please contact us for the address.

Canoeing Canoeing Canoeing