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  • Writer's pictureKatie Beaumont

Top 4 facts about the River Severn

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

You may have enjoyed walks along the River Severn, spent many an hour fishing here or even paddled a canoe down it...but how much do you know about this wonderful stretch of water?

Here's our top 4 facts:

  1. It's the longest River in Great Britain

The River Severn is 220 miles long, starting in a peat bog in Plynlimon, located in the Cambrian Mountains, Wales and travelling down to the Severn Estuary where it empties into the Bristol Channel. The river runs through Powys, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with the County towns of Shrewsbury, Gloucester and Worcester on its banks.

2. The Severn's name is derived from the Latin word `Sabrina`

The River Severn gets its name from the Latin word `Sabrina` or `Hafren` in Welsh, which means `boundary`. According to some sources, the name is based on a mythical story of a nymph who drowned in the river. There is a statue of Sabrina in Dingle Gardens, in the Quarry in Shrewsbury.

3. The River Severn is famous for its tidal bore...

The effects of tides flowing into the Severn Estuary and up the river gives rise to the famous Severn bore. During high tides a wall of water can travel up stream for 25 miles. The tidal wave can swell the depth of the river by 50ft and it's the second highest tide anywhere in the world! Surfing on the bore is a popular activity, but it's not for the faint-hearted!

4. The River played an important role in the Industrial Revolution

The River Severn linked the coal and iron fields of the Midlands with the Bristol Channel and much of the River's industrial history can be seen and explored in Ironbridge and Coalville. By the end of the 17th century, the river had become the 2nd busiest in Europe! For many centuries, Bridgnorth was an extremely busy river port, exporting clothes, wool and beer (the town made its own brew called Cave beer, stored in the local caves). Commercial traffic declined with the advent of the railways in the 19th century and today, river traffic mainly consists of people enjoying the water on pleasure boats. Canoeing, fishing, walking and boating are all popular activities, particularly between Bridgnorth and Bewdley. You can hire a canoe with River Severn Canoes

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