River Severn: Wikis

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River Severn
Welsh: Afon Hafren, Latin: Sabrina
River
The Severn at Shrewsbury from Shrewsbury Castle.
Country United Kingdom
Parts Wales, England
Regions Mid Wales, West Midlands, South West
Administrative
areas
Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire
Tributaries
 - left Vyrnwy, Tern, Stour, Warwickshire Avon, Bristol Avon
 - right Teme, Wye
Cities Shrewsbury, Worcester, Gloucester, Bristol
Landmarks Ironbridge Gorge, Severn Valley, Severn Bore, Severn crossing
Source
 - location Plynlimon, Ceredigion, Wales
 - elevation 610 m (2,001 ft)
 - coordinates 52°29′36″N 3°44′04″W / 52.493465°N 3.734578°W / 52.493465; -3.734578
Mouth Severn Estuary
 - location Bristol Channel, United Kingdom
 - elevation m (0 ft)
Length 354 km (220 mi)
Basin 11,420 km2 (4,409 sq mi)
Discharge for Bewdley, Worcs. SO 7815 7622
 - average 61.17 m3/s (2,160 cu ft/s) [1]
 - max 533.48 m3/s (18,840 cu ft/s)
max recorded on 1947-03-21[2]
Tributaries (light blue) and major settlements on and near the Severn (bold blue)

The River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren, Latin: Sabrina) is the longest river in Great Britain, at about 354 kilometres (220 mi).[3][4] It rises at an altitude of 610 metres (2,001 ft) on Plynlimon near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales. It then flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with the county towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester on its banks. With an average discharge of 107 m³/s at Apperley, Gloucestershire, the Severn is England's greatest river in terms of water flow.

The river is usually considered to become the Severn Estuary after the Second Severn Crossing between Severn Beach, South Gloucestershire and Sudbrook, Monmouthshire. The river then discharges into the Bristol Channel which in turn discharges into the Celtic Sea and the wider Atlantic Ocean. The Severn's drainage basin area is 11,420 square kilometres (4,409 sq mi), excluding the River Wye and Bristol Avon which flow into the Bristol Channel. The major tributaries to the Severn are the Vyrnwy, Teme, Warwickshire Avon and Stour.

Contents

Mythology

According to some sources, the name "Severn" is derived from the name Sabrina (or Hafren), based on the mythical story of a nymph who drowned in the river.[5] Sabrina is also the goddess of the River Severn in Brythonic mythology. The story of Sabrina is featured in Milton's Comus.[6] There is a statue of 'Sabrina' in the Dingle Gardens at the Quarry, Shrewsbury.

As the Severn becomes tidal the associated deity changes to Noadu (Romanized as Nodens), who is represented mounted on a seahorse, riding on the crest of the Severn bore.[7]

Tributary rivers

The River Stour rises in the north of Worcestershire in the Clent Hills, near St Kenelm's Church at Romsley. It flows north into the adjacent West Midlands at Halesowen. It then flows westwards through Cradley Heath and Stourbridge where it leaves the Black Country. It is joined by the Smestow Brook at Prestwood before it winds around southwards to Kinver, and then flows back into Worcestershire. It then passes through Wolverley, Kidderminster and Wilden to its confluence with the Severn at Stourport-on-Severn.

The River Vyrnwy, which begins at Lake Vyrnwy, flows eastwards through Powys before forming the border between England and Wales, joining the Severn near Melverley, Shropshire. The Rea Brook flows north from its source in the Shropshire Hills and joins the Severn at Shrewsbury. The River Tern, after flowing south from Market Drayton and being joined by the River Roden, meets the Severn at Attingham Park.

The River Worfe joins the Severn, just above Bridgnorth. The River Stour rising on the Clent Hills and flowing through Halesowen, Stourbridge, and Kidderminster, joins the Severn at Stourport. On the opposite bank, the tributaries are only brooks, Borle Brook, Dowles Brook draining the Wyre Forest and Dick Brook.

The source of the River Severn in the Winter of 2006.

The River Teme flows eastwards from its source in Mid Wales, straddling the border between Shropshire and Herefordshire, it is joined by the River Onny, River Corve and River Rea before it finally joins the Severn slightly downstream of Worcester.

One of the several rivers named Avon, in this case the Warwickshire Avon, flows west through Rugby, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. It is then joined by its tributary the River Arrow, before finally joining the Severn at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

The port of Bristol is located on the Severn Estuary, where another River Avon flows into it through the Avon Gorge.

The River Wye, from its source in Plynlimon, Wales, flows generally south east through the Welsh towns of Rhayader and Builth Wells. It enters Herefordshire, flows through Hereford, and is shortly afterwards joined by the River Lugg, before flowing through Ross-on-Wye and Monmouth, and then southwards where it forms the boundary between England (Forest of Dean) and Wales. It flows into the Severn near the town of Chepstow, slightly upstream of the Bristol Avon on the opposite bank.

The River Usk flows into the Severn Estuary just south of Newport.

Major settlements

The source of the River Severn on Plynlimon, Wales. The source is marked with this post in both English and Welsh.
Worcester Cathedral overlooks the Severn in Worcester.
High Town, Bridgnorth.

Below is a list of major towns and cities that the Severn flows through (in order running downstream): Through Powys:

Through Shropshire:

Through Worcestershire:

Through Gloucestershire:

Transport

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Bridges

The Welsh Bridge (background) and Frankwell Footbridge (foreground) in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

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. There also is the famous Iron Bridge at Ironbridge, which was the world's first iron arch bridge.

The two bridges of the Severn crossing carrying roads link Wales with the southern counties of England and are among the most important in Britain.

Prior to the construction of the first bridge in 1966, the channel was crossed by the Aust Ferry.

Rail

The Severn Tunnel, completed in 1886 by John Hawkshaw on behalf of the Great Western Railway, lies near the Second Severn Crossing road bridge, and carries the Great Western Main Line 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 and Pilning. 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 tackled the grade 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 in the early 1950s.

Disasters

There have been many disasters on the Severn, 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.[citation needed]

Navigation

There is a public right of navigation between Pool Quay, near Welshpool, and Stourport. 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, who are the navigation authority.

At Upper Parting above Gloucester, the river divides into two, and flows either side of Alney Island 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 provides a navigable channel south. Between the docks and Lower Parting Llanthony Weir marks the Normal Tidal Limit (NTL) of the East Channel of the river[8].

In the tidal section of the river below Gloucester, the Gloucester Harbour Trustees 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

River Severn
legend
Unknown route-map component "uxSTRfl"
Bewdley
Unknown route-map component "ueTRANSf"
Limit of navigation
Unknown route-map component "uSTRfr"
Stourport-on-Severn
Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "uLockr" Start of large dock/flash/lake Unknown route-map component "uLockr"
Stourport basins
Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr" End of large dock/flash/lake Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr"
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal
Unused waterway turning from left Waterway with unused branch to right
Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu"
Lincombe lock
Unused waterway turning left Unknown route-map component "ueABZlg"
Unused waterway turning from left Waterway with unused branch to right
Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu"
Holt lock
Unused waterway turning left Unknown route-map component "ueABZlg"
Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld" Urban transverse track Urban transverse track
River Salwarpe
Unknown route-map component "uxgJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "ugFGATEr" Unknown route-map component "ugSTRq"
Droitwich Canal
Waterway with unused branch to left Unused waterway turning from right
Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu" Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg"
Bevere lock and weir
Unknown route-map component "ueABZrg" Unused waterway turning right
Unknown route-map component "uSTRfr" Unknown route-map component "uDRYf"
Worcester
Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr" Unknown route-map component "uJUNC"
Worcester and Birmingham Canal
Unused waterway turning from left
Unknown route-map component "ueABZdf" + Waterway turning to left
Urban track turning from right Unknown route-map component "uDOCKg"
Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu"
Diglis weir and locks
Unused waterway turning left
Unknown route-map component "ueABZdg" + Waterway turning from left
Waterway turning to right
Urban straight track Waterway turning from left
River Avon
Urban straight track Waterway turning from left Urban transverse track Unknown route-map component "uWEIRl"
Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "uJUNCe" Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr" Waterway T-junction to right
Avon lock
Waterway with unused branch to left Unused waterway turning from right Unknown route-map component "uSTRfr"
Tewkesbury
Unknown route-map component "uFGATEu" Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg" Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg"
Upper Lode lock
Unknown route-map component "ueABZrg" Unused waterway turning right Unused straight waterway
Unknown route-map component "ueABZrg" Unused transverse waterway Unused transverse waterway Unused waterway turning right
Unknown route-map component "ueABZrg" Unused transverse waterway Unused transverse waterway Unknown route-map component "uexDOCKr"
Coombe Hill Canal
Urban straight track
Unknown route-map component "uxABZlf" Urban transverse track Urban track turning from right
Unused waterway turning from left Unknown route-map component "uemgABZrf" Urban straight track
Unknown route-map component "uxWEIRg" Unknown route-map component "ugFGATEu" Urban straight track
Maisemore weir and lock
Unused waterway turning left Unknown route-map component "uemgABZlg" Urban straight track
Transverse unwatered canal with floodgate left
Unknown route-map component "ugJUNCrd" + Unused straight waterway
Urban straight track
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
Unused waterway turning from left Unused waterway turning right Urban straight track
Unknown route-map component "uxJUNCld" Unknown route-map component "uexFGATEr" Unused waterway turning from right Urban straight track
Llanthony lock
Unknown route-map component "uexABZrg" Unused transverse waterway weir with flow to left Unknown route-map component "uexABZ3lf" Waterway with unused branch to right
Llanthony weir
Unused waterway turning left Unused waterway turning from right Waterway with floodgate down
Gloucester lock
Unused straight waterway
Unknown route-map component "uWHARF" + Unknown route-map component "uJUNCld"
Unknown route-map component "uDOCKr"
Gloucester Dock and Victoria Basin
Unused straight waterway Unknown route-map component "uDRYr"
Unknown route-map component "uWHARF" + Unknown route-map component "uJUNC"
Unknown route-map component "uHWHARF"
Unused straight waterway
Urban straight track + Unknown route-map component "POINTERl"
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal
Unused straight waterway Waterway with unused branch to left Unused waterway turning from right
Unused straight waterway Unknown route-map component "uSWING" Unwatered canal
New Swing Bridge
Unused straight waterway Unknown route-map component "ueABZrg" Unused waterway turning right
Unknown route-map component "uxgJUNCld" + Unused straight waterway
Unknown route-map component "ugLOCKSr" Unknown route-map component "uygJUNCrd" Unknown route-map component "ueHTRANSl"
Stroudwater Canal
Unused straight waterway + Unknown route-map component "POINTERl"
Urban straight track
River Severn
Unknown route-map component "uxJUNCld"
Unused transverse waterway weir with flow to left + Unknown route-map component "uKHSTl"
Waterway T-junction to right
Sharpness Old Lock
Unused straight waterway Unknown route-map component "uDRYr" Waterway T-junction to right
Unknown route-map component "uxJUNCld" + Waterway turning from left
Unknown route-map component "uFGATEr" Waterway turning to right
Sharpness Lock
Transverse waterway with floodgate left Waterway T-junction to right
Lydney Canal
Waterway under motorway
Severn Bridge M48 motorway
Waterway under motorway
Second Severn Crossing M4 motorway

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, (both narrow beam) and the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal all join the Severn at Stourport, Worcester and Gloucester respectively. The Droitwich Barge Canal, a broad beam canal joins the Severn at Hawford, near to the River Salwarpe, 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 connects the Severn at Gloucester to the Severn at Sharpness, avoiding a stretch of the tidal river which is dangerous to navigate. The Stroudwater Navigation used to join the tidal Severn at 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 to the river.

Passenger transport

The tidal river

Paddle steamers were operated in the Severn Estuary from the mid 19th century to the late 1970s by P and A Campbell of Bristol. Since 1986 Waverley Excursions has operated occasional sailings to Sharpness and Lydney by the MV Balmoral.[9]

A number of ferries were also operated on the tidal river, for example at New Passage, Purton and Arlingham. The last ferry was the Aust Ferry, which closed in 1966 when the Severn Bridge opened. The Aust Ferry was operated by three ferries, the Severn King, Severn Queen and Severn Princess. The Severn Princess was restored at Chepstow after being found in Ireland full of fertiliser, and is to form part of a maritime exhibition.[10] The Severn King and Severn Queen were scrapped not long after their decommission.

The upper river

In Worcester, the Worcester River Cruises have boat trips up and down the river between Tewkesbury and Stourport, operating the boats The Pride of the Midlands and The Earl Grosvenor.[11]

In Shropshire the Hampton Loade Ferry 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 during the summer.[12]

Severn Estuary

The Severn bridges crossing near the mouth of the River Severn

The river becomes tidal at Maisemore, 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 near Severn Beach, South Gloucestershire (the point to which the jurisdiction of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees extends), or at Aust, the site of the Severn Bridge.

The Severn Estuary extends to a line from Lavernock Point (south of Cardiff) to Sand Point near Weston-super-Mare. West of this line is the Bristol Channel. In the Severn Estuary (or the Bristol Channel in the last two cases, depending where the boundary is drawn) are the rocky islands called Denny Island, Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

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 bore

Bore hitting the riverbank in 1994

A curious phenomenon associated with the lower reaches of the Severn is the tidal bore,[13] which forms somewhat upstream of the port of Sharpness.

The river's estuary, which empties into the Bristol Channel, has the second largest tidal range in the world—14.5 metres (48 ft),[14][15] exceeded only by the Bay of Fundy—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-kilometre (3.1 mi) stretch of the River Severn in Shropshire, is known as Ironbridge Gorge. It was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. Its historic importance is due to its role as the centre of the iron industry in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. Ironbridge gets its name from the bridge across the Severn, built in 1779, which was the first cast-iron arch bridge ever constructed.[16]

Wildlife

The sides of the estuary are also important feeding grounds for waders, notably at the Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve and the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust.

Literary allusions

The River Severn is named several times in A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad (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…”).

See also

References

  1. ^ "National River Flow Archive - 54001 Severn @ Montford". http://www.nwl.ac.uk/ih/nrfa/station_summaries/054/005.html. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  2. ^ "HiFlows-UK". http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/hiflowsuk/stations/54001/. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  3. ^ http://www.seered.co.uk/shrewsburyfloods.pdf | title= Frankwell Flood Alleviation Scheme, Shrewsbury| accessdate=2010-03-13| publisher= Environmental Agency
  4. ^ BBC. "The River Severn Facts". http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/sevenwonders/west/severn-river/. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  5. ^ Andy Morrall. "The Legend of Sabrina". http://www.geocities.com/andymorrall/sabrina.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  6. ^ Liam Rogers. "Sabrina and the River Severn". http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/sabrina.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  7. ^ Clucas, P. (1985) Britain - The Landscape Below. Guildford: Colour Library Books. ISBN 0-86283-174-1
  8. ^ Ordnance Survey
  9. ^ Waverley Excursions website
  10. ^ This is Gloucestershire 13 August 2009
  11. ^ Worcester River Cruises website
  12. ^ Shrewsbury Boat website
  13. ^ Rowbotham, Fred (1983) [1964]. Severn Bore. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8508-9. 
  14. ^ "About the Severn Estuary" (Web Page). UK Environment Agency. updated 5 march 2006. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/position/99429.aspx. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  15. ^ "Coast: Bristol Channel". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bristol/content/articles/2005/07/04/bristolchannel_feature.shtml. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  16. ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/371 Unesco World Heritage listing

External links


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