River Severn
Overview
The River Severn is the longest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, at about 354 kilometres (220 mi), but the second longest on the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

, behind the River Shannon
River Shannon
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at . It divides the west of Ireland from the east and south . County Clare, being west of the Shannon but part of the province of Munster, is the major exception...

. It rises at an altitude of 610 metres (2,001 ft) on Plynlimon
Plynlimon
Plynlimon is the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, and the highest point in Mid Wales. It is a massif that dominates the countryside of northern Ceredigion....

, Ceredigion
Ceredigion
Ceredigion is a county and former kingdom in mid-west Wales. As Cardiganshire , it was created in 1282, and was reconstituted as a county under that name in 1996, reverting to Ceredigion a day later...

 near Llanidloes
Llanidloes
Llanidloes is a town along the A470 road and B4518 road in Powys, within the historic county boundaries of Montgomeryshire , Mid Wales.It is the first town on the River Severn...

, Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

, in the Cambrian Mountains
Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales, reaching from, and including, the South Wales mountains of the Brecon Beacons, north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the Black Mountains of eastern Wales, to Snowdonia in North Wales...

 of mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

. It then flows through Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

 and Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

, with the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

s of Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

, Worcester
Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

, and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 on its banks. With an average discharge of 107 m³/s at Apperley
Apperley
Apperley is a small village in Gloucestershire, England. It is part of the parish of its smaller and more famous neighbour, Deerhurst.The village has a thriving cricket club that reached the final of the National Village Cricket Championship in 1998. The England cricketer Alfred Dipper was born in...

, Gloucestershire, the Severn is the greatest river in terms of water flow in England and Wales.

The river is usually considered to become the Severn Estuary
Severn Estuary
The Severn Estuary is the estuary of the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. Its high tidal range means it has been at the centre of discussions in the UK regarding renewable energy.-Geography:...

 after the Second Severn Crossing
Second Severn Crossing
The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

 between Severn Beach
Severn Beach
Severn Beach is a village on the mouth of the river Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. A riverside footpath, which is part of the Severn Way, leads beneath the Second Severn Crossing bridge...

, South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire is a unitary district in the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, in South West England.-History:The district was created in 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished, by the merger of former area of the districts of Kingswood and Northavon...

 and Sudbrook
Sudbrook, Monmouthshire
Sudbrook is a village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It is located 4 miles south west of Chepstow and 1 mile east of Caldicot. It lies close to the Second Severn Crossing on the Severn Estuary, and adjoins the village of Portskewett. It was largely built in the late 19th century for workers...

, Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire is a county in south east Wales. The name derives from the historic county of Monmouthshire which covered a much larger area. The largest town is Abergavenny. There are many castles in Monmouthshire .-Historic county:...

.
Encyclopedia
The River Severn is the longest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, at about 354 kilometres (220 mi), but the second longest on the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

, behind the River Shannon
River Shannon
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at . It divides the west of Ireland from the east and south . County Clare, being west of the Shannon but part of the province of Munster, is the major exception...

. It rises at an altitude of 610 metres (2,001 ft) on Plynlimon
Plynlimon
Plynlimon is the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, and the highest point in Mid Wales. It is a massif that dominates the countryside of northern Ceredigion....

, Ceredigion
Ceredigion
Ceredigion is a county and former kingdom in mid-west Wales. As Cardiganshire , it was created in 1282, and was reconstituted as a county under that name in 1996, reverting to Ceredigion a day later...

 near Llanidloes
Llanidloes
Llanidloes is a town along the A470 road and B4518 road in Powys, within the historic county boundaries of Montgomeryshire , Mid Wales.It is the first town on the River Severn...

, Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

, in the Cambrian Mountains
Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains are a series of mountain ranges in Wales, reaching from, and including, the South Wales mountains of the Brecon Beacons, north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the Black Mountains of eastern Wales, to Snowdonia in North Wales...

 of mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

. It then flows through Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

 and Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

, with the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

s of Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

, Worcester
Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

, and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 on its banks. With an average discharge of 107 m³/s at Apperley
Apperley
Apperley is a small village in Gloucestershire, England. It is part of the parish of its smaller and more famous neighbour, Deerhurst.The village has a thriving cricket club that reached the final of the National Village Cricket Championship in 1998. The England cricketer Alfred Dipper was born in...

, Gloucestershire, the Severn is the greatest river in terms of water flow in England and Wales.

The river is usually considered to become the Severn Estuary
Severn Estuary
The Severn Estuary is the estuary of the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. Its high tidal range means it has been at the centre of discussions in the UK regarding renewable energy.-Geography:...

 after the Second Severn Crossing
Second Severn Crossing
The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

 between Severn Beach
Severn Beach
Severn Beach is a village on the mouth of the river Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. A riverside footpath, which is part of the Severn Way, leads beneath the Second Severn Crossing bridge...

, South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire is a unitary district in the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, in South West England.-History:The district was created in 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished, by the merger of former area of the districts of Kingswood and Northavon...

 and Sudbrook
Sudbrook, Monmouthshire
Sudbrook is a village in Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It is located 4 miles south west of Chepstow and 1 mile east of Caldicot. It lies close to the Second Severn Crossing on the Severn Estuary, and adjoins the village of Portskewett. It was largely built in the late 19th century for workers...

, Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire is a county in south east Wales. The name derives from the historic county of Monmouthshire which covered a much larger area. The largest town is Abergavenny. There are many castles in Monmouthshire .-Historic county:...

. The river then discharges into the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 which in turn discharges into the Celtic Sea
Celtic Sea
The Celtic Sea is the area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland bounded to the east by Saint George's Channel; other limits include the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, and the Bay of Biscay, as well as adjacent portions of Wales, Cornwall, Devon, and Brittany...

 and the wider Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. The Severn's drainage basin area is 11420 square kilometres (4,409 sq mi), excluding the River Wye
River Wye
The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK and for parts of its length forms part of the border between England and Wales. It is important for nature conservation and recreation.-Description:...

 and Bristol Avon
River Avon, Bristol
The River Avon is an English river in the south west of the country. To distinguish it from a number of other River Avons in Britain, this river is often also known as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon...

 which flow into the Severn Estuary. The major tributaries to the Severn are the Vyrnwy
River Vyrnwy
The River Vyrnwy is a river which flows through northern Powys, Wales, and Shropshire, England.The river used to be sourced from the many rivers and streams running off the mountains surrounding the Vyrnwy valley. However, since the Lake Vyrnwy dam was built in the 1880s, the river has flowed...

, Teme
River Teme
The River Teme rises in Mid Wales, south of Newtown in Powys, and flows through Knighton where it crosses the border into England down to Ludlow in Shropshire, then to the north of Tenbury Wells on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border there, on its way to join the River Severn south of Worcester...

, Warwickshire Avon and Stour
River Stour, Worcestershire
The Stour is a river flowing through the counties of Worcestershire, the West Midlands and Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The Stour is a major tributary of the River Severn, and it is about in length...

.

Etymology and mythology

The name Severn is thought to derive from a Celtic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 original name *sabrinn-â, of uncertain meaning. That name then developed in different languages to become Sabrina to the Romans, Hafren in Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

, and Severn in English. A folk etymology later developed, deriving the name from a mythical story of a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

, Sabrina, who drowned in the river. Sabrina is also the goddess of the River Severn in Brythonic mythology. The story of Sabrina is featured in Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

's Comus
Comus (John Milton)
Comus is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton. It was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales.Known colloquially as Comus, the mask's actual full title is A...

. There is a statue of 'Sabrina' in the Dingle Gardens at the Quarry
The Quarry
The Quarry is the main recreational park in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, England. The park was created in 1719 and encompasses...

, Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

. As the Severn becomes tidal the associated deity changed to Noadu (Romanized as Nodens
Nodens
Nodents is a Celtic deity associated with healing, the sea, hunting and dogs. He was worshipped in ancient Britain, most notably in a temple complex at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire, and possibly also in Gaul...

), who was represented mounted on a seahorse
Seahorse
Seahorses compose the fish genus Hippocampus within the family Syngnathidae, in order Syngnathiformes. Syngnathidae also includes the pipefishes. "Hippocampus" comes from the Ancient Greek hippos meaning "horse" and kampos meaning “sea monster”.There are nearly 50 species of seahorse...

, riding on the crest of the Severn bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

.

Tributary rivers

The River Stour
River Stour, Worcestershire
The Stour is a river flowing through the counties of Worcestershire, the West Midlands and Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The Stour is a major tributary of the River Severn, and it is about in length...

 rises in the north of Worcestershire in the Clent Hills
Clent Hills
The Clent Hills lie 9⅓ miles southwest of Birmingham city centre in Clent, Worcestershire, England. The closest towns are Stourbridge and Halesowen, both in the West Midlands conurbation. The Clent Hills range consists of, in order from north-west to south-east: Wychbury Hill, Clent Hill , and...

, near St Kenelm's Church at Romsley. It flows north into the adjacent West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

 at Halesowen
Halesowen
Halesowen is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands, England.The population, as measured by the United Kingdom Census 2001, was 55,273...

. It then flows westwards through Cradley Heath
Cradley Heath
Cradley Heath is a town in the Black Country, located in Sandwell metropolitan borough, England. The name is usually pronounced "Craid-ley", not "Crad-ley", but in the Black Country accent, it may even sound like "Craig-ley Aith"...

 and Stourbridge
Stourbridge
Stourbridge is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England. Historically part of Worcestershire, Stourbridge was a centre of glass making, and today includes the suburbs of Amblecote, Lye, Norton, Oldswinford, Pedmore, Wollaston, Wollescote and Wordsley The...

 where it leaves the Black Country
Black Country
The Black Country is a loosely defined area of the English West Midlands conurbation, to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton. During the industrial revolution in the 19th century this area had become one of the most intensely industrialised in the nation...

. It is joined by the Smestow Brook at Prestwood before it winds around southwards to Kinver
Kinver
Kinver is a large village in South Staffordshire district, Staffordshire, England. It is in the far south-west of the county, at the end of the narrow finger of land surrounded by the counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands. The nearest towns are Stourbridge in the West...

, and then flows back into Worcestershire. It then passes through Wolverley
Wolverley
Wolverley is a village, and with Cookley together, a civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of Worcestershire, England. It is located a few miles to the north west of Kidderminster, near the town of Bewdley, and the villages of Kinver and Cookley...

, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
Kidderminster is a town, in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately fifteen miles north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town...

 and Wilden to its confluence
Confluence
Confluence, in geography, describes the meeting of two or more bodies of water.Confluence may also refer to:* Confluence , a property of term rewriting systems...

 with the Severn at Stourport-on-Severn
Stourport-on-Severn
Stourport-on-Severn, often shortened to Stourport, is a town and civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of North Worcestershire, England, a few miles to the south of Kidderminster and down stream on the River Severn from Bewdley...

.

The River Vyrnwy
River Vyrnwy
The River Vyrnwy is a river which flows through northern Powys, Wales, and Shropshire, England.The river used to be sourced from the many rivers and streams running off the mountains surrounding the Vyrnwy valley. However, since the Lake Vyrnwy dam was built in the 1880s, the river has flowed...

, which begins at Lake Vyrnwy
Lake Vyrnwy
Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve and Estate is an area of land in Montgomeryshire, Powys, Wales, surrounding the Victorian reservoir of Lake Vyrnwy. Its stone-built dam, built in the 1880s, was the first of its kind in the world. The Nature Reserve and the area around it are jointly managed by the Royal...

, flows eastwards through Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

 before forming the border between England and Wales, joining the Severn near Melverley
Melverley
Melverley is a village in Shropshire, England, situated on the River Severn and the River Vyrnwy, near the Powys hills and the border with Wales...

, Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

. The Rea Brook
Rea Brook
The name Rea Brook can refer to either of two brooks in Shropshire, England.One of the brooks, which eventually becomes the River Rea, is in southern Shropshire. It is to the east of Brown Clee Hill....

 flows north from its source in the Shropshire Hills and joins the Severn at Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

. The River Tern
River Tern
The River Tern is a river in Shropshire, England. It rises north-east of Market Drayton in the north of the county. The source of the Tern is considered to be the lake in the grounds of Maer Hall, Staffordshire...

, after flowing south from Market Drayton
Market Drayton
Market Drayton is a small market town in north Shropshire, England. It is on the River Tern, between Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent, and was formerly known as "Drayton in Hales" and earlier simply as "Drayton" ....

 and being joined by the River Roden
River Roden, Shropshire
The River Roden is a river in Shropshire, England, which rises near Wem Moss and meets the River Tern at Walcot.Villages and towns it flows through or near to include:*Wem*Lee Brockhurst*Shawbury*Roden*Rodington-Wildlife:...

, meets the Severn at Attingham Park
Attingham Park
Attingham Park is a country house in Shropshire, England, which is owned by the National Trust. It is a Grade I listed building.- Location :It is located near to the village of Atcham, on the B4380 Shrewsbury to Wellington road.- History :...

.

The River Worfe joins the Severn, just above Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth is a town in Shropshire, England, along the Severn Valley. It is split into Low Town and High Town, named on account of their elevations relative to the River Severn, which separates the upper town on the right bank from the lower on the left...

. The River Stour
River Stour, Worcestershire
The Stour is a river flowing through the counties of Worcestershire, the West Midlands and Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The Stour is a major tributary of the River Severn, and it is about in length...

 rising on the Clent Hills
Clent Hills
The Clent Hills lie 9⅓ miles southwest of Birmingham city centre in Clent, Worcestershire, England. The closest towns are Stourbridge and Halesowen, both in the West Midlands conurbation. The Clent Hills range consists of, in order from north-west to south-east: Wychbury Hill, Clent Hill , and...

 and flowing through Halesowen
Halesowen
Halesowen is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands, England.The population, as measured by the United Kingdom Census 2001, was 55,273...

, Stourbridge
Stourbridge
Stourbridge is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England. Historically part of Worcestershire, Stourbridge was a centre of glass making, and today includes the suburbs of Amblecote, Lye, Norton, Oldswinford, Pedmore, Wollaston, Wollescote and Wordsley The...

, and Kidderminster
Kidderminster
Kidderminster is a town, in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately fifteen miles north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town...

, joins the Severn at Stourport. On the opposite bank, the tributaries are only brooks, Borle Brook, Dowles Brook draining the Wyre Forest
Wyre Forest
Wyre Forest is a large, semi-natural woodland and forest which straddles the borders of Worcestershire and Shropshire, England.The Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire takes its name from the forest, despite the fact that much of the woodland does not lie within the district's boundaries, but...

 and Dick Brook.
The River Teme
River Teme
The River Teme rises in Mid Wales, south of Newtown in Powys, and flows through Knighton where it crosses the border into England down to Ludlow in Shropshire, then to the north of Tenbury Wells on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border there, on its way to join the River Severn south of Worcester...

 flows eastwards from its source in Mid Wales
Mid Wales
Mid Wales is the name given to the central region of Wales. The Mid Wales Regional Committee of the National Assembly for Wales covered the counties of Ceredigion and Powys and the area of Gwynedd that had previously been the district of Meirionydd. A similar definition is used by the BBC...

, straddling the border between Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

 and Herefordshire
Herefordshire
Herefordshire is a historic and ceremonial county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire" NUTS 2 region. It also forms a unitary district known as the...

, it is joined by the River Onny
River Onny
The River Onny is a river in Shropshire, England. It is a major tributary of the River Teme.The river has its sources in the Shropshire Hills at White Grit, located in Mid and South-west Shropshire. It has two branches, the East Onny and West Onny, which converge at Eaton, to the east of Lydham...

, River Corve
River Corve
The River Corve is a minor river in Shropshire, England. It is a tributary of the River Teme which it joins in the town of Ludlow, and which joins the River Severn at Powick near Worcester...

 and River Rea
River Rea, Shropshire
The River Rea is a small river that flows through south east Shropshire, England and passes just to the east of the small market town of Cleobury Mortimer, before entering the Teme at Newnham Bridge in Worcestershire. Its waters eventually reach the Bristol Channel, via the Severn. The upper...

 before it finally joins the Severn slightly downstream of Worcester.

One of the several rivers named Avon, in this case the Warwickshire Avon
River Avon, Warwickshire
The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the Midlands of England...

, flows west through Rugby
Rugby, Warwickshire
Rugby is a market town in Warwickshire, England, located on the River Avon. The town has a population of 61,988 making it the second largest town in the county...

, Warwick
Warwick
Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England. The town lies upon the River Avon, south of Coventry and just west of Leamington Spa and Whitnash with which it is conjoined. As of the 2001 United Kingdom census, it had a population of 23,350...

 and Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, south east of Birmingham and south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers...

. It is then joined by its tributary the River Arrow
River Arrow (Worcestershire)
The River Arrow rises on Beacon Hill in the Lickey Hills Country Park in the Lickey Hills in the north of Worcestershire, England, and heads generally south eastwards to become a major tributary of the River Avon...

, before finally joining the Severn at Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury is a town in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, and also minor tributaries the Swilgate and Carrant Brook...

, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

.

The port of Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 is located on the Severn Estuary
Severn Estuary
The Severn Estuary is the estuary of the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain. Its high tidal range means it has been at the centre of discussions in the UK regarding renewable energy.-Geography:...

, where another River Avon
River Avon, Bristol
The River Avon is an English river in the south west of the country. To distinguish it from a number of other River Avons in Britain, this river is often also known as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon...

 flows into it through the Avon Gorge
Avon Gorge
The Avon Gorge is a 1.5-mile long gorge on the River Avon in Bristol, England. The gorge runs south to north through a limestone ridge west of Bristol city centre, and about 3 miles from the mouth of the river at Avonmouth. The gorge forms the boundary between the unitary authorities of...

.

The River Wye
River Wye
The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK and for parts of its length forms part of the border between England and Wales. It is important for nature conservation and recreation.-Description:...

, from its source in Plynlimon
Plynlimon
Plynlimon is the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, and the highest point in Mid Wales. It is a massif that dominates the countryside of northern Ceredigion....

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, flows generally south east through the Welsh towns of Rhayader
Rhayader
Rhayader is a market town and community in Powys, Mid Wales. It has a population of 2,075, and is the first town on the banks of the River Wye, from its source on the Plynlimon range of the Cambrian Mountains....

 and Builth Wells
Builth Wells
Builth Wells is a town in the county of Powys, within the historic boundaries of Brecknockshire, mid Wales, lying at the confluence of the River Wye and the River Irfon, in the Welsh of the Wye Valley. It has a population of 2,352....

. It enters Herefordshire
Herefordshire
Herefordshire is a historic and ceremonial county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire" NUTS 2 region. It also forms a unitary district known as the...

, flows through Hereford
Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...

, and is shortly afterwards joined by the River Lugg
River Lugg
The River Lugg , rises near Llangynllo, Powys. It flows through the border town of Presteigne, Wales then through Herefordshire, England, including the town of Leominster, south of which it is met by a tributary, the River Arrow, then to a confluence with the River Wye, which it joins at Mordiford,...

, before flowing through Ross-on-Wye
Ross-on-Wye
Ross-on-Wye is a small market town with a population of 10,089 in southeastern Herefordshire, England, located on the River Wye, and on the northern edge of the Forest of Dean.-History:...

 and Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

, and then southwards where it forms the boundary between England (Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region in the western part of the county of Gloucestershire, England. The forest is a roughly triangular plateau bounded by the River Wye to the west and north, the River Severn to the south, and the City of Gloucester to the east.The...

) and Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. It flows into the Severn near the town of Chepstow
Chepstow
Chepstow is a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye, close to its confluence with the River Severn, and close to the western end of the Severn Bridge on the M48 motorway...

, slightly upstream of the Bristol Avon on the opposite bank.

The River Usk
River Usk
The River Usk rises on the northern slopes of the Black Mountain of mid-Wales, in the easternmost part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Initially it flows north into Usk Reservoir, then east by Sennybridge to Brecon before turning southeast to flow by Talybont-on-Usk, Crickhowell and...

 flows into the Severn Estuary just south of Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

.

Major settlements

Below is a list of major town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

s and cities that the Severn flows through (in order running downstream):
Through Powys
Powys
Powys is a local-government county and preserved county in Wales.-Geography:Powys covers the historic counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire , and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,179 km², making it the largest county in Wales by land area.It is...

:
  • Newtown
  • Welshpool
    Welshpool
    Welshpool is a town in Powys, Wales, or ancient county Montgomeryshire, from the Wales-England border. The town is low-lying on the River Severn; the Welsh language name Y Trallwng literally meaning 'the marshy or sinking land'...


Through Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

:
  • Shrewsbury
    Shrewsbury
    Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to some 70,000 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council...

     (county town)
  • Ironbridge
    Ironbridge
    Ironbridge is a settlement on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin...

  • Bridgnorth
    Bridgnorth
    Bridgnorth is a town in Shropshire, England, along the Severn Valley. It is split into Low Town and High Town, named on account of their elevations relative to the River Severn, which separates the upper town on the right bank from the lower on the left...


Through Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

:
  • Bewdley
    Bewdley
    Bewdley is a town and civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of Worcestershire, England, along the Severn Valley a few miles to the west of Kidderminster...

     and surrounding Villages
  • Stourport
  • Worcester
    Worcester
    The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

     (county town)
  • Upton
    Upton-upon-Severn
    Upton-upon-Severn is a small town and civil parish in the Malvern Hills District of Worcestershire, England, on the River Severn. According to the national census 2001 it had a population of 2,859. Located from Malvern, the bridge at Upton is the only one across the river Severn between Worcester...


Through Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

:
  • Tewkesbury
    Tewkesbury
    Tewkesbury is a town in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, and also minor tributaries the Swilgate and Carrant Brook...

  • Gloucester
    Gloucester
    Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

     (county town)

Bridges


The Severn is bridged at many places, and many of these bridges are notable in their own right, with several designed and built by the engineer Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford FRS, FRSE was a Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason, and a noted road, bridge and canal builder.-Early career:...

. There also is the famous Iron Bridge
The Iron Bridge
The Iron Bridge crosses the River Severn at the Ironbridge Gorge, by the village of Ironbridge, in Shropshire, England. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron, a material which was previously far too expensive to use for large structures...

 at Ironbridge
Ironbridge
Ironbridge is a settlement on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin...

, which was the world's first iron arch bridge.

The two road bridges of the Severn crossing
Severn crossing
Severn crossing is a term used to refer to the two motorway crossings over the River Severn estuary between England and Wales. The two crossings are:*The Severn Bridge *The Second Severn Crossing...

 link Wales with the southern counties of England.
  • Severn Bridge
    Severn Bridge
    The Severn Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the River Severn between South Gloucestershire, just north of Bristol, England, and Monmouthshire in South Wales, via Beachley, a peninsula between the River Severn and River Wye estuary. It is the original Severn road crossing between England and...

     — opened in 1966 carrying what is now the M48
    M48 motorway
    The M48 is a motorway in Great Britain joining Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire over the original Severn Bridge. The M48 is anomalously numbered, as it is entirely to the west of the M5 motorway and its number should really therefore begin with 5.-Route:...

  • Second Severn Crossing
    Second Severn Crossing
    The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

     — opened in 1996 carrying the M4
    M4 motorway
    The M4 motorway links London with South Wales. It is part of the unsigned European route E30. Other major places directly accessible from M4 junctions are Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea...

     motorway


Prior to the construction of the first bridge in 1966, the channel was crossed by the Aust Ferry
Aust Ferry
Aust Ferry or Beachley Ferry was a ferry service that operated across the River Severn between Aust and Beachley both in Gloucestershire, England. Before the Severn Bridge opened in 1966, it provided a daily service for road traffic crossing between the West Country and South Wales...

.

Rail

The Severn Tunnel
Severn Tunnel
The Severn Tunnel is a railway tunnel in the United Kingdom, linking South Gloucestershire in the west of England to Monmouthshire in south Wales under the estuary of the River Severn....

, completed in 1886 by John Hawkshaw
John Hawkshaw
Sir John Hawkshaw , was an English civil engineer.-Early life:He was born in Leeds, Yorkshire and was educated at Leeds Grammar School...

 on behalf of the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

, lies near the Second Severn Crossing
Second Severn Crossing
The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

 road bridge, and carries the Great Western Main Line
Great Western Main Line
The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in Great Britain that runs westwards from London Paddington station to the west of England and South Wales. The core Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol. A major branch of the Great...

 under the channel.

Cars could also be transported through the Severn Tunnel. In the 1950s three trains a day made round trips between Severn Tunnel Junction
Severn Tunnel Junction railway station
Severn Tunnel Junction railway station is a small railway station on the western side of the Severn Tunnel at Rogiet, Monmouthshire, Wales. It lies at the junction of the South Wales Main Line from London and the Gloucester to Newport Line....

 and Pilning
Pilning railway station
Pilning railway station is a small railway station at Pilning, South Gloucestershire, England. It is the last station on the English side before the Severn Tunnel through to Wales....

. The vehicles were loaded onto open flat bed carriages and pulled by a small pannier tank locomotive, although sometimes they were joined to a scheduled passenger train. The prudent owner paid to cover the vehicle with a sheet, as sparks often flew when the steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

 tackled the slope leading to the tunnel exit. A rail coach was provided for passengers and drivers. Reservations could be made and the fee for the car was about thirty shillings (£1.50) in the early 1950s.

Disasters

There have been many disasters on the Severn
Disasters on the Severn
The following is a list of notable accidents on the River Severn and Severn Estuary, which runs through England and Wales. The river is the longest river in Britain and at its mouth has the second highest rise and fall of tide in the world.-17th century:...

, making it Britain's most dangerous river. It has claimed many lives (figures vary depending on how it is recorded, circa 300 people), especially during the 20th century.

Navigation

There is a public right of navigation between Pool Quay
Pool Quay
Pool Quay is a small village in Powys, Mid Wales.- Location :It is situated on the A483 road, between the towns of Welshpool and Oswestry right on the banks of the river Severn.- Attractions & amenities :...

, near Welshpool
Welshpool
Welshpool is a town in Powys, Wales, or ancient county Montgomeryshire, from the Wales-England border. The town is low-lying on the River Severn; the Welsh language name Y Trallwng literally meaning 'the marshy or sinking land'...

, and Stourport
Stourport-on-Severn
Stourport-on-Severn, often shortened to Stourport, is a town and civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of North Worcestershire, England, a few miles to the south of Kidderminster and down stream on the River Severn from Bewdley...

. However this stretch of the river has little traffic, other than small pleasure boats, canoes and some tour boats in Shrewsbury. Below Stourport, where the river is more navigable for larger craft, users must obtain permits from British Waterways
British Waterways
British Waterways is a statutory corporation wholly owned by the government of the United Kingdom, serving as the navigation authority in England, Scotland and Wales for the vast majority of the canals as well as a number of rivers and docks...

, who are the navigation authority
Navigation authority
A navigation authority is a company or statutory body which is concerned with the management of a navigable canal or river.-Rights of a navigation authority:...

.

At Upper Parting above Gloucester, the river divides into two, and flows either side of Alney Island
Alney Island
Alney Island is an island in the River Severn near Gloucester. The Severn splits into two channels at Upper Parting , and merges together again at Lower Parting to the south...

 to Lower Parting. The West Channel is no longer navigable. The East Channel is navigable as far as Gloucester Docks, from where the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal or Gloucester and Berkeley Canal is a canal in the west of England, between Gloucester and Sharpness; for much of its length it runs close to the tidal River Severn, but cuts off a significant loop in the river, at a once-dangerous bend near Arlingham...

 provides a navigable channel south. Between the docks and Lower Parting Llanthony Weir
Llanthony Secunda
Llanthony Secunda Priory is a ruined former Augustinian priory in Hempsted, Gloucester, England. Miles de Gloucester, 1st Earl of Hereford, founded the priory for the monks of Llanthony Priory, Vale of Ewyas, in what is now Monmouthshire, Wales, in 1136....

 marks the Normal Tidal Limit (NTL) of the East Channel of the river.

In the tidal section of the river below Gloucester, the Gloucester Harbour Trustees
Gloucester Harbour Trustees
The Gloucester Harbour Trustees are the Competent Harbour Authority for the tidal part of the River Severn from the Gloucester weirs down to just below the Second Severn Crossing and on the River Wye up to its tidal limit .The Trustees have responsibilities for navigational safety in that part of...

 are the competent harbour authority.

Locks

There are locks on the lower Severn to enable sea going boats to reach as far as Stourport. The most northerly lock is at Lincombe, about a mile downstream from Stourport.

Associated canals

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is a narrow navigable canal in the English Midlands, passing through the counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire....

, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal
Worcester and Birmingham Canal
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal is a canal linking Birmingham and Worcester in England. It starts in Worcester, as an 'offshoot' of the River Severn and ends in Gas Street Basin in Birmingham. It is long....

, (both narrow beam) and the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal is a canal in the west of England, which ran from Hereford, the county town of Herefordshire to Gloucester the county town of Gloucestershire, where it linked to the River Severn...

 all join the Severn at Stourport
Stourport-on-Severn
Stourport-on-Severn, often shortened to Stourport, is a town and civil parish in the Wyre Forest District of North Worcestershire, England, a few miles to the south of Kidderminster and down stream on the River Severn from Bewdley...

, Worcester
Worcester
The City of Worcester, commonly known as Worcester, , is a city and county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some southwest of Birmingham and north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the...

 and Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 respectively. The Droitwich Barge Canal
Droitwich Canal
The Droitwich Canal is a synthesis of two canals in Worcestershire, England; the Droitwich Barge Canal and the Droitwich Junction Canal. The Barge Canal is a broad canal which opened in 1771 linking Droitwich Spa to the River Severn at Hawford Mill, Claines...

, a broad beam canal joins the Severn at Hawford
Hawford
Hawford is a hamlet in Worcestershire, England. It falls within two parishes; Claines and Ombersley in the outer suburbs of Worcester about 3 miles from the city centre. It is bisected by the River Salwarpe, the Droitwich - Worcester Canal and is also bounded by the River...

, near to the River Salwarpe
River Salwarpe
The River Salwarpe is a river in Worcestershire, England. Rising near Bromsgrove, it passes Stoke Prior, Upton Warren, Wychbold, Droitwich . After Droitwich, it meets the River Severn, at Hawford, . Andrew Yarranton attempted unsuccessfully to make it navigable in the 1660s....

, and connects to the Droitwich Canal (narrow beam) in the name town, which then forms a link to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The two Droitwich canals are due to re-open in 2010 after major restoration.

The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal or Gloucester and Berkeley Canal is a canal in the west of England, between Gloucester and Sharpness; for much of its length it runs close to the tidal River Severn, but cuts off a significant loop in the river, at a once-dangerous bend near Arlingham...

 connects the Severn at Gloucester to the Severn at Sharpness
Sharpness
Sharpness is an English port in Gloucestershire, one of the most inland in Britain, and eighth largest in the South West. It is on the River Severn at , at a point where the tidal range, though less than at Avonmouth downstream , is still large .The village of Sharpness is pronounced with the...

, avoiding a stretch of the tidal river which is dangerous to navigate. The Stroudwater Navigation
Stroudwater Navigation
The Stroudwater Navigation is a canal linking Stroud to the Severn Estuary in England and Wales. It was authorised in 1776, although part had already been built, as the Proprietors thought that an Act of Parliament obtained in 1730 gave them the necessary powers. It opened in 1779, and was a...

 used to join the tidal Severn at Framilode
Framilode
Framilode is a village on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, England. It consists of two settlements, Lower Framilode and Upper Framilode...

, but since the 1920s has connected to the Severn only via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Lydney Canal is a short canal which connects Lydney
Lydney
Lydney is a small town and civil parish in the English county of Gloucestershire. It is located on the west bank of the River Severn, close to the Forest of Dean. The town lies on the A48 road, next to the Lydney Park gardens with its Roman temple in honour of Nodens.-Transport:The Severn Railway...

 to the river.

The tidal river

Paddle steamer
Paddle steamer
A paddle steamer is a steamship or riverboat, powered by a steam engine, using paddle wheels to propel it through the water. In antiquity, Paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans...

s were operated in the Severn Estuary from the mid 19th century to the late 1970s by P and A Campbell
P and A Campbell
P & A Campbell Ltd of Bristol with its White Funnel Fleet became the dominant excursion-steamer operator in the Bristol Channel by the 1890s; and along the South Coast of England in the first half of the twentieth century.-The White Funnel fleet:...

 of Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

. Since 1986 Waverley Excursions has operated occasional sailings to Sharpness and Lydney by the MV Balmoral.

A number of ferries were also operated on the tidal river, for example at New Passage
New Passage
New Passage is a small hamlet in South Gloucestershire, England located on the banks of the Severn estuary near the village of Pilning. It derives its name from the ferry service which operated between there and South Wales before the late 19th century, when it lost out in competition with the...

, Purton
Purton, Berkeley
Purton is a village on the east bank of the River Severn, 3 miles north of Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, England. The village is in the civil parish of Hinton. It lies opposite the hamlet of Purton on the west bank of the river....

 and Arlingham
Arlingham
Arlingham is a village and civil parish in the Stroud District of Gloucestershire, England. The 200 Census recorded a parish population of 410. The parish occupies a peninsula on a sharp bend in the River Severn. The next parish to the east is Fretherne with Saul.In Passage Road is a fish...

. The last ferry was the Aust Ferry
Aust Ferry
Aust Ferry or Beachley Ferry was a ferry service that operated across the River Severn between Aust and Beachley both in Gloucestershire, England. Before the Severn Bridge opened in 1966, it provided a daily service for road traffic crossing between the West Country and South Wales...

, which closed in 1966 when the Severn Bridge opened. One of the Aust ferries, Severn Princess, is still in Chepstow
Chepstow
Chepstow is a town in Monmouthshire, Wales, adjoining the border with Gloucestershire, England. It is located on the River Wye, close to its confluence with the River Severn, and close to the western end of the Severn Bridge on the M48 motorway...

 although largely derelict.

The upper river

In Worcester, the Worcester River Cruises
Worcester River Cruises
Worcester River Cruises is a river cruise company that provides leisure cruises on the River Severn in Worcester, England. The company owns three boats The Pride of the Midlands, The Severn Traveller and The Earl Grosvenor. The Pride of the Midlands is primarily used for leisure cruises that last...

 have boat trips up and down the river between Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury is a town in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, and also minor tributaries the Swilgate and Carrant Brook...

 and Stourport, operating the boats The Pride of the Midlands and The Earl Grosvenor.

In Shropshire the Hampton Loade Ferry
Hampton Loade Ferry
Hampton Loade Ferry is a pedestrian cable ferry linking the villages of Hampton Loade and Hampton across the River Severn in the English county of Shropshire and providing a link to Hampton Loade village from Hampton Loade station on the heritage Severn Valley Railway, in Hampton village.The...

 operates across the river.

In Shrewsbury, boat trips around the loop of the town centre are at present provided by the Sabrina and depart from Victoria Quay near the Welsh Bridge
Welsh Bridge
The Welsh Bridge is a masonry arch viaduct in the town of Shrewsbury, England which crosses the River Severn. It connects Frankwell with the town centre. It is a Listed Building, Grade II*....

 during the summer.

Severn Estuary

The river becomes tidal at Maisemore
Maisemore
Maisemore is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It lies on the A417 road 2.5 miles northwest of Gloucester, on the west bank of the River Severn. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 488. There is a church, dedicated to St Giles.Maisemore Bridge connects the...

, on the West Channel just north of Gloucester, and at Llanthony Weir on the East Channel. The tidal river downstream from Gloucester is sometimes referred to as the Severn Estuary, but the river is usually considered to become the Severn Estuary after the Second Severn Crossing
Second Severn Crossing
The Second Severn Crossing is a bridge which carries the M4 motorway over the River Severn between England and Wales, inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales to augment the traffic capacity of the original Severn Bridge built in 1966...

 near Severn Beach
Severn Beach
Severn Beach is a village on the mouth of the river Severn in South Gloucestershire, England. A riverside footpath, which is part of the Severn Way, leads beneath the Second Severn Crossing bridge...

, South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire is a unitary district in the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, in South West England.-History:The district was created in 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished, by the merger of former area of the districts of Kingswood and Northavon...

 (the point to which the jurisdiction of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees
Gloucester Harbour Trustees
The Gloucester Harbour Trustees are the Competent Harbour Authority for the tidal part of the River Severn from the Gloucester weirs down to just below the Second Severn Crossing and on the River Wye up to its tidal limit .The Trustees have responsibilities for navigational safety in that part of...

 extends), or at Aust
Aust
Aust is a small village in South Gloucestershire, England, the historical site of the eastern terminal of the Aust Ferry crossing route over the River Severn between England and Wales, believed to have been used in Roman times as a continuation of Icknield Street which led from Eastern England...

, the site of the Severn Bridge
Severn Bridge
The Severn Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the River Severn between South Gloucestershire, just north of Bristol, England, and Monmouthshire in South Wales, via Beachley, a peninsula between the River Severn and River Wye estuary. It is the original Severn road crossing between England and...

.

The Severn Estuary extends to a line from Lavernock Point (south of Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

) to Sand Point
Sand Point, Somerset
Sand Point in Somerset is the peninsula stretching out from Middle Hope, which lies to the north of the village of Kewstoke, and the stretch of coastline called Sand Bay. It is owned by the National Trust and is a popular place for walking...

 near Weston-super-Mare
Weston-super-Mare
Weston-super-Mare is a seaside resort, town and civil parish in the unitary authority of North Somerset, which is within the ceremonial county of Somerset, England. It is located on the Bristol Channel coast, south west of Bristol, spanning the coast between the bounding high ground of Worlebury...

. West of this line is the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

. In the Severn Estuary (or the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

 in the last two cases, depending where the boundary is drawn) are the rocky islands called Denny Island
Denny Island
Denny Island is a small rocky island of , with scrub vegetation, in the Severn Estuary. Its rocky southern foreshore marks the boundary between England and Wales. Above high water mark, the island is reckoned administratively to Monmouthshire, South Wales...

, Steep Holm
Steep Holm
Steep Holm is an English island lying in the Bristol Channel. The island covers at high tide, expanding to at mean low water. At its highest point it is above mean sea level. It lies within the historic boundaries of Somerset and administratively, it forms part of North Somerset...

 and Flat Holm
Flat Holm
Flat Holm is a limestone island lying in the Bristol Channel approximately from Lavernock Point in the Vale of Glamorgan, but in the City and County of Cardiff. It includes the most southerly point of Wales....

.

The estuary is about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide at Aust, and about 9 miles (14 km) wide between Cardiff and Weston-super-Mare.

Severn Sea

Until Tudor times
Tudor period
The Tudor period usually refers to the period between 1485 and 1603, specifically in relation to the history of England. This coincides with the rule of the Tudor dynasty in England whose first monarch was Henry VII...

 the Bristol Channel was known as the Severn Sea, and it is still known as this in both Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

 and Cornish
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

 (Mor Hafren and Mor Havren respectively, with Mor meaning Sea).

Severn bore

A curious phenomenon associated with the lower reaches of the Severn is the tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

, which forms somewhat upstream of the port of Sharpness
Sharpness
Sharpness is an English port in Gloucestershire, one of the most inland in Britain, and eighth largest in the South West. It is on the River Severn at , at a point where the tidal range, though less than at Avonmouth downstream , is still large .The village of Sharpness is pronounced with the...

.

The river's estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

, which empties into the Bristol Channel
Bristol Channel
The Bristol Channel is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales from Devon and Somerset in South West England. It extends from the lower estuary of the River Severn to the North Atlantic Ocean...

, has the second largest tidal range
Tidal range
The tidal range is the vertical difference between the high tide and the succeeding low tide. Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth...

 in the world—14.5 metres (48 ft), exceeded only by the Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine...

—and during the highest tides, the rising water is funnelled up the estuary into a wave that travels rapidly upstream against the river current. The largest bores occur in spring, but smaller ones can be seen throughout the year. The bore is accompanied by a rapid rise in water level which continues for about one and a half hours after the bore has passed.

Industry

A 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) stretch of the River Severn in Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, is known as Ironbridge Gorge
Ironbridge Gorge
The Ironbridge Gorge is a deep gorge formed by the River Severn in Shropshire, England.Originally called the Severn Gorge, the gorge now takes its name from its famous Iron Bridge, the first iron bridge of its kind in the world, and a monument to the industry that began there...

. It was designated a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 in 1986. Its historic importance is due to its role as the centre of the iron industry
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

 in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. The gorge and the village of Ironbridge
Ironbridge
Ironbridge is a settlement on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin...

 get their name from the Iron Bridge
The Iron Bridge
The Iron Bridge crosses the River Severn at the Ironbridge Gorge, by the village of Ironbridge, in Shropshire, England. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron, a material which was previously far too expensive to use for large structures...

 across the Severn, built in 1779, which was the first cast-iron arch bridge ever constructed.

Wildlife

The sides of the estuary are also important feeding grounds for wader
Wader
Waders, called shorebirds in North America , are members of the order Charadriiformes, excluding the more marine web-footed seabird groups. The latter are the skuas , gulls , terns , skimmers , and auks...

s, notably at the Bridgwater Bay
Bridgwater Bay
Bridgwater Bay is on the Bristol Channel, north of Bridgwater in Somerset, England at the mouth of the River Parrett and the end of the River Parrett Trail. It consists of large areas of mud flats, saltmarsh, sandflats and shingle ridges, some of which are vegetated...

 National Nature Reserve
National Nature Reserves in England
National Nature Reserves in England are managed by Natural England and are key places for wildlife and natural features in England. They were established to protect the most important areas of habitat and of geological formations...

 and the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust
WWT Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge is a wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England. Slimbridge is halfway between Bristol and Gloucester on the estuary of the river Severn. The reserve was the first WWT centre to be opened, on 10 November 1946, thanks to the...

.

Literary allusions

The River Severn is named several times in A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad
A Shropshire Lad
A Shropshire Lad is a cycle of sixty-three poems by the English poet Alfred Edward Housman . Some of the better-known poems in the book are "To an Athlete Dying Young", "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now" and "When I Was One-and-Twenty".The collection was published in 1896...

(1896): “It dawns in Asia, tombstones show/And Shropshire names are read;/And the Nile spills his overflow/Beside the Severn’s dead” (“1887”); “Severn stream” (“The Welsh Marches”); and “Severn shore” (“Westward from the high-hilled plain…”).

In William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's "Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV , and Henry V...

," Henry Hotspur Percy recalls the valor of Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March in a long battle against Welshman Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

 upon The Severn's banks, claiming the flooding Severn "affrighted with (the warriors') bloody looks ran fearfully among the trembling reeds and hid his crisp head in the hollow bank, bloodstained with these valiant combatants."

See also

  • List of crossings of the River Severn
  • Rivers of the United Kingdom
  • The Severn Way
    Severn Way
    The Severn Way is a waymarked long-distance footpath in the United Kingdom following the course of the River Severn in the West Country of England and Mid Wales.-Distance:...

     long-distance footpath
  • The Severn Area Rescue Association
    Severn Area Rescue Association
    The Severn Area Rescue Association aka SARA or Severn Rescue is an Inshore Rescue boat and Land Search organisation covering the Severn Estuary and upper reaches of the River Severn. SARA is the largest independent lifeboat service in the UK, second only to the RNLI, with 12 operational boats and...

     operates search and rescue services and lifeboats from Wyre Forest to Beachley (4 Stations on the River)
  • Mercia Inshore Search and Rescue
    Mercia Inshore Search and Rescue
    Mercia Inshore Search and Rescue , also known as Mercia Rescue, is a water rescue team operating from the marina in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, England....

     are based at Upton-upon-Severn
    Upton-upon-Severn
    Upton-upon-Severn is a small town and civil parish in the Malvern Hills District of Worcestershire, England, on the River Severn. According to the national census 2001 it had a population of 2,859. Located from Malvern, the bridge at Upton is the only one across the river Severn between Worcester...

  • The Severn Valley
    Severn Valley (England)
    The Severn Valley is a rural area of mid-western England, through which the River Severn runs and the Severn Valley Railway steam heritage line operates, starting at its northernmost point in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and running south for 16 miles to Bewdley, Worcestershire in the Wyre...

    , an area straddling Shropshire and Worcestershire
  • Severnside
    Severnside
    The geographical term Severnside refers to an area adjoining or straddling the River Severn or its estuary in the United Kingdom.The term is used by different organisations, in different contexts, to refer to quite different areas. The Severn passes through both England and Wales, in some places...

    , a term with various uses
  • Seven Natural Wonders
    Seven Natural Wonders
    Seven Natural Wonders was a television series that was broadcast on BBC Two from 3 May to 20 June 2005. The programme took an area of England each week and, from votes by the people living in that area, showed the 'seven natural wonders' of that area in a programme.The programmes were:The series...

    - 2005 TV programme where the River was described as one of the wonders of the West Country
    West Country
    The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of...

    .

External links

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