River Severn, Mid Wales | Shropshire | Worcestershire | GloucestershireThe River Severn is Britain's longest river at 220 miles. Its source is 2,000 feet up in the Cambrian Mountains at Plynlimon, near Llanidloes , Powys. The course of the river takes it through the counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. The county towns of Shrewsbury , Worcester and Gloucester are all on the Severn.
The end of the River Severn is marked by the Second Severn Crossing near Severn Beach in South Gloucestershire. Here the river flows into the Bristol Channel . The port of Bristol sits on the Severn Estuary at the point where the River Avon flows through the Avon Gorge. This is the second River Avon to join the Severn as the Warwickshire Avon also enters the Severn at Tewkesbury . Several other rivers also feed the Severn along its journey to the sea. Many canals also join the Severn along its length.
Passing through over two hundred miles of Welsh and English countryside means the Severn has no shortage of attractions along its banks. The lovely Welsh towns of Newtown and Welshpool are both on the Severn. The important early industrial centre at Ironbridge only developed because of the presence of the Severn and its abundant waters. The famous Iron Bridge that spans the river here, built by Thomas Telford , gives the town its name. Worcester Cathedral also overlooks the Severn.
At the end of the river the twin bridges of the Severn Crossing provide a spectacular site as they span the broad mouth of the river to connect the South West of England with South Wales. The first bridge dates back to 1966 and the second was opened in 1996. The river is also crossed here by the railway, although this goes under rather than over the river via the Severn Tunnel. The tunnel was constructed by the Great Western Railway (GWR) between 1873 and 1886 and is over four miles long in total. The estuary provides feeding grounds for waders, notably at the Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve and the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust.
The river is powerful and can be dangerous, it has claimed many lives throughout history. It burst its banks to cause widespread flooding in Tewkesbury during the summer of 2007 causing havoc in town. The river also displays its might in the form of the famous Severn Bore . This is tidal wave of up to seven feet high, produced by the unique geography of the river at the point where it meets its estuary. The bore is so powerful that plans to harness the energy of the wave for electricity generation have often been mooted. Meanwhile river surfers already use this energy to propel themselves along the river in what has become a very popular pastime. The larger bores occur in Spring but smaller ones can be seen right through the seasons.
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