The Severn Bore at Minsterworth





Local Information

Minsterworth is one of the best places to see the Bore.  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.  Please use one of the car parks shown on the map.  There is no fixed charge for parking, but a voluntary contribution is requested.  A sum of £2 is suggested.  A collection box is sited at the pedestrian exits.  Please do not park along Church Lane.  Toilets at both car parks are usually available when there are 4 star week-end Bores, but not at other times and not at the Village Hall for evening Bores.

The following information is the appendices from the book (now out of print) 'The Severn Bore' by Fred Rowbotham 1964.

Summary of Facts & Figures

NUMBER OF BORES PER ANNUM:  Approximately 260, ie, 2 per day on about 130 days.  Large bores on about 25 days, morning and evening.

BORE TIDES:  All tides of 26ft or over on the Sharpness gauge have bores when river conditions are normal.  Largest bores occur with tides over 31ft at Sharpness.

HEIGHT OF BORE:  Anything up to 6ft in mid-stream, but 3ft is good.  Height at banks much greater than in mid-stream and further accentuated on outer banks of bends.

WIDTH OF BORE:  In sandy estuary width is unconfined and variable up to 800ft.  Minsterworth to Gloucester, bank to bank, 270 to 300ft.

SPEED OF BORE:  In sandy estuary 5.5 to 8 mph according to location.  Minsterworth to Gloucester, 10 to 13 mph.

SPEED OF WATER:  Near Sharpness maximum flood and ebb 5.5 mph.  Minsterworth to Gloucester flood 5 mph, ebb 3.5 mph; both considerably affected by freshwater flows.

BORE SEASONS:  Bores occur all the year round with spring tides, but are biggest near an equinox.  Vernal Equinox: Feb-Mar-Apr.  Autumnal Equinox: Aug-Sep-Oct.

BORE DATES:  Maximum bores occur one to three days after new and full moons; smaller ones on days immediately preceding and following maxima.

BORE TIMES: Between 4am and noon; 7pm and midnight.  Largest between 9pm and 11pm morning and evening (GMT).  Individual times determined from tide tables.

LENGTH OF TRAVEL:  Awre to Gloucester - 21 river miles.

TIME OF TRAVEL: 2 hours 10 mins to 2 hours 35 mins, according to conditions.

Factors Affecting Height and Time of Bore

(in addition to height and time of HW at Sharpness)

Bore height INCREASED by:

i.     Strong west to south-west winds

ii.    About 2 ft of freshwater below Gloucester

iii.   Channels of estuary well scoured

iv.   Low barometer

Bore height DECREASED by:

i.     Strong north to east winds

ii.    Absence of freshwater

iii.   Too much freshwater

iv.   High barometer

Bore made EARLIER by:

i.     Strong west to south-west winds

ii.    2 ft to 5 ft of freshwater

iii.   Channels cutting shorter routes through estuary sands

iv.   Channels well scoured

v.    Low barometer

Bore made LATER by:

i.     Strong north to east winds

ii.    Absence of freshwater

iii.   Channels cutting longer routes through estuary sands

iv.   Channels unscoured, with high beds

v.    High barometer

Note:  The strength and direction of the wind out at sea is often of more consequence than prevailing local wind conditions.




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