Boaters emerging onto the mighty Severn from the bucolic Avon at Tewkesbury might be tempted to misquote Crocodile Dundee. That’s not a river, this is a river.
The Severn is Britain’s longest river, though the upper reaches are off-limits to boats: the rapids of Wales (where they call it Afon Hafren), Shrewsbury and Ironbridge. But once you reach Stourport, the cruising starts in earnest, as a strong resident population of fibreglass cruisers will reassure you. From here, you can cruise this wide, lightly locked river down to Gloucester, where the Gloucester & Sharpness (Ship) Canal takes up the story.
The river has a tendency to distribute the rains of Wales over the farmland of Worcestershire, so the banks can be high and the views restricted. But the scenery has occasional highs – steep gorges and wooded slopes – and much of the appeal of the Severn is what’s on the banks: the historic cathedral cities of Gloucester and Worcester, the market towns of Tewkesbury and Upton, the frequent riverside pubs with good moorings. (From the Angel at Stourport to the Boat at Ashleworth Quay, the pubs of the Severn are a match for any waterway in Britain.)
The locks are operated for you: all you need to do is wait for the green light. If you have a powerful enough engine, you’ll find the miles just drop away as you make your way along the river. Be careful after rain, though. The Severn can swell at the slightest provocation and you’re best to stay moored up until it subsides.