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If you haven't yet witnessed the incredible spectacle that is the Severn Bore, make a date to do so, it's well worth it.
One of Britain's few natural phenomena, the Severn Bore is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet (approx. 15.4m). Graded from 1* to 5* the power of the wave is truly spectacular to witness, especially when there are many surfers, kayakers and paddleboarders surfing it (or trying to).
Where to Watch the Severn Bore
There are many locations to watch it from. The estuary begins to bottleneck around Newnham-on-Severn meaning that the wave strengthens and gains speed, which is why it is a very popular spot both to watch it from and for surfers to get into the water. As the river flows towards Gloucester there are also popular locations at Broadoak just up from Newnham, Garden Cliff near Westbury-on-Severn and Minsterworth.
At Minsterworth a public footpath runs along the river bank. Access to this is adjacent to the church, where there is a lectern giving information about the bore. There is a car park with no fixed charge for parking but a voluntary contribution is requested. A collection box is sited at the pedestrian exits. Toilets are usually available when there are 4* weekend bores but not at other times and not at the Village Hall for evening bores.
Newnham-on-Severn is also one of the best places to see the Severn Bore. There is a small car park with a long stretch of raised bank to walk along and view the bore from. There are also toilets and sometimes a mobile van serving drinks and snacks. Newnham is the main location for surfers, kayakers and paddleboarders to get into the water to try to catch the wave and ride it into Gloucester, so it can be a dramatic spot but also very busy especially when there are 4 and 5* bores and there is limited parking. Turn up early to get a space!
Please be aware that these are all popular locations and can get very busy especially on big bore days, we recommend arriving in plenty of time. Remember also that the timetable is only an estimate and sometimes the bore can be 10 minutes early or late! Also please stand well back, the wave can not only hit the shore but completely swamp it and anyone standing on it (we've seen it happen).
If you are interested in surfing, kayaking or paddleboarding the bore please check with experts first, even experienced surfers have fallen fowl of the powerful wave. Follow the link to visit the main Severn Bore website, run by surfers who have surfed the bore many times.
Strongest bores are during the spring and autumn tides. For the latest dates see our What's On page listings here.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed here and we created this video of surfing stormtroopers to celebrate. You never know what you are going to see:
* The best bores occur in the early spring and autumn. Check the website for dates and times.