GUIDE TO THE RIVER LUGG
(Presteigne to Confluence with the River Wye)
NAME OF RIVER: Lugg.
WHERE IS IT?: Except for the first section from Presteigne to Letchmoor Bridge, which is in Wales, the river is in Herefordshire, joining the River Wye at Mordiford, 9 miles downstream of Hereford.
ACCESS SITUATION: One of the few rivers in our country with undisputed Right of Navigation, due to being being included in the River Wye & Lugg Navigation Act. Locals are friendly to canoeists, even the rare fishermen. Please keep it that way by being polite, quiet and only using the permitted access points and requesting permission where indicated.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Below Leominster the river is navigable at most levels, but can be very dangerous due to trees when in flood. Check level at Leominster access if paddling upstream. If edge of water is in line with wall at slipway should be good level up to Upper Lye. If well below don't bother. Needs to be well above for adequate water from Presteigne.
GRADING: Mostly Grade 1 or flat, but includes many weirs, ranging from small and safe to shoot to lethal. All of the hazardous weirs are marked and can be portaged.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Overhanging trees on bends throughout. Dangerous weirs on section above Leominster. Top sections often have collapsed barbed wire fences after flood levels.
(-19miles) Presteigne - OS ref: 309649 Public park next to scout hut on B4355 to Norton. Parking.
Narrow and Shallow and lots of bends. Only canoeable in winter or after heavy rain. Beware numerous fallen trees and wire fences in river. Some very small weirs. Section only worth paddling to record that you have run the entire river, as due to fallen trees it took me about 3 hours for 2 miles.
(-17miles) Letchmoor Bridge - OS ref: 349640 - Access in field on downstream RH bank.
Comments as previous section, above Kinsham. Small gauging weir at Upper Kinsham simple shoot through centre and good for a safe play. Worth paddling as this is a very scenic section.
(-12miles) Upper Lye - OS ref: 398654 - Public access from RH bank - Parking.
Very scenic section. 1 weir, easy portage marked RH.
(-10miles) Aymstrey - OS ref: 425653 - Private access through Riverside Inn Car Park. Permission unlikely to be refused, but do ask. Better still paddle on to next access.
2 small weirs simple slide down. Then at Mortimer Cross steeper weir, shoot or portage LH, beware hazardous debris on RH bank below.
(-8 miles) Mortimer Cross - OS ref: 427637 - Public access downstream RH bank.
1 weir. Portage LH.
(-6miles) Lugg Green - OS ref: 449621
Public access downstream of bride RH bank. Be considerate of residents.
This is the whitewater play section, but can be paddled as a touring trip as all the big weirs can be portaged, but portages are not the easiest. This is the section with the dangerous weirs. All weirs have warning signs and marked portage routes.
2 modern concrete weirs with anti scour cills - very dangerous. Usually holding a dead sheep in each.
3rd modern weir, same design but much smaller and easy shoot down either side. Beware tow back is deceptively strong.
4 old weirs built of stone blocks. Straightforward shoot down centre, all have standing waves but little or no stopper. Portage routes are marked. Each wave is different and dependent upon water level.
3rd dangerous weir - modern concrete double weir where river splits. Portage RH for Leominster (Kenwater) or LH if bypassing town.
(0 miles) Leominster - OS ref: 495593
Where the A44 crosses the river in town look for Bridge Street Car Park (free).
Access is at far end on left - public slipway. Toilets.
Normal start for touring, hence zero point for mileage. There are a number of small weirs that are simple to shoot down the centre. Only weirs that are not straightforward are noted.
After A44 road bridge (No Access) - Eaton Hall - weir under old bridge. Simple in low levels, but stopper forms at higher level. In low levels shoot RH channel, in high levels LH is easier. Can be portaged RH.
After A417 road bridge(No Access) Hampton Court Mill. Portage LH end of weir.
Bodenham Bridge (No Access)
(10 Miles) Railway Inn. OS ref: 511510
Private, but access unlikely to be refused. Essential to ask at the pub.
Access is not easy. Best place is beneath the railway bridge. Inspect first.
(16 Miles) Moreton Bridge OS ref: 512459
I have never used this access but friends have - Information wanted.
(20 miles) Lugg Bridge OS ref: 532418
A4103. Public footpath through field RH downstream of bridge.
Weir just below Mordiford Bridge. In low levels channel flows tight to LH of channel and care need to be taken to not be pushed onto the bank.
(26 Miles) Confluence with River Wye - NO Access point
27 Miles) Lucks'all Camp site. OS ref: 568363
Concrete steps LH bank 100m after road bridge. Small fee payable.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Leominster is the usual start for touring, being suitable for canoe camping, with only one definite portage, though access points are limited. Above Leominster, due to being narrow with tight bends and numerous weirs it is only suitable for whitewater paddlers. Lugg Green to Leominster is a good play section in winter or after heavy rain, level rises and falls very quickly.
Photos of the river can bbe found at www.canoecampingclub.co.uk.
OTHER NOTES: OS Landranger Maps: Above Leominster sheet 148, below 149.
Lots of interesting wildlife, in particular kingfishers, herons and birds of prey. If very quiet and a keen eye you may be very lucky and see an otter.
Obstructions to the river or portage routes should be reported to the Environment Agency.
Steve Claydon (Feb 2004)...'As a regular paddler of the Lugg, I can confirm the section above Mortimers Cross is really only worth doing after a decent amount of rain, Kinsham down to Mortimers Cross can usually be done at a medium to low level, but I recommend you wait for some water as it can be a bit of a bump and scrape in places and would spoil this excellent section. I paddled from Letchmoor Bridge on Saturday 7th February 04 only to find three trees Blocking the river, which required portaging, plus there is an old footbridge that is just a bit too low to sneak under. Kinsham Bridge down to Mortimers Cross was clear. Four portages and various limbos, I would give Letchmoor Bridge to Kinsham a miss until the trees have cleared, especially if you are in an open canoe.'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Tim Wheeler, also Steve Claydon. Tim is the Chairman of the Midlands Group of the Canoe-Camping Club who frequently organise trips on the river. See www.canoecampingclub.co.uk