Severn Bore – a spectacular natural phenomena

Over the next few weeks there are some 5* Bores coming up….ok – so that could be read more than one way. Let me explain! The Severn Bore is far from boring – in fact it is quite amazing! The bore is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the second highest in the world – as much as 15 metres. For a bore to occur you need the river estuary and the tidal conditions to be just right. The Severn Estuary is shaped in such a way that the water is funnelled into an increasingly narrow channel as the tide rises, which leads to the formation of a large wave. The river follows a course past Avonmouth where it is approximately 5 miles wide, then past Beachley and Aust, then Lydney and Sharpness where it is approximately 1 mile wide. Ever narrowing, by the time the river reaches Minsterworth it is less than a hundred yards across. As well as the width decreasing rapidly, the depth of the river also changes rapidly and so a funnel shape is formed. The incoming tide travels up the estuary, being funnelled up an ever decreasing channel, so forming a surge wave – a bore.

Surfing the bore has become quite a sport with dozens of surfers competing to record the longest ride. Distance records have been broken on numerous occasions with the Guinness World Record holder, Steve King, recording a ride of 9.25 miles! With the bore reaching speeds of approx 10mph that’s quite a long ride! Canoeists and windsurfers also love to take a ride on the bore. The huge difference between surfing the bore and surfing at sea is that if you miss the bore you’ve got a long time to wait until the next one…ohhh…and don’t forget to have someone ready to meet you at the other end. It’s a walk back to the car with a board!

For great information about where and when to see the bore visit The weekend of 20th February at the end of half term is due for two top rated 5* bores.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *