River Usk Facts

Located in Wales, the River Usk is 125 km (78 miles) in length. Its source is in Fan Brycheiniog in the Black Mountain, and it flows into the Severn Estuary.

Facts About the River Usk

  • The name Usk comes from either the Brittonic word for lots of fish or the word for water.
  • The entire course of the River Usk has been made a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and it is the home for lots of wildlife, including kingfishers, grey herons, dippers, red kites, Atlantic salmon, otters, lamprey, shad, brown trout, chub dace, and roach.
  • The River Usk is one of Britain’s best fly fishing rivers for salmon.
  • Usk Bridge spans the River Usk in Brecon. It was constructed in 1563 but was modified in the 1950s so that it could take road traffic.
Usk Bridge at Brecon (Early 2oth Century)
Usk Bridge at Brecon (Early 2oth Century)
  • In one of the tales of King Arthur, Gawain pushed King Arthur into the River Usk.
  • The town of Usk is often called the Town of Flowers because it has won the Wales in Bloom competition so many times.
  • Some of the River Usk’s tributaries include Afron Crai, Afon Cynrig, Afon Senni, and Afon Tarell.
  • In June 2002 a 15th-century boat was discovered by archaeologists on the River Usk’s west bank. The find is now known as the Newport Medieval Ship. The vessel would originally have been about 35 metres long, and, based on the artefacts found at the site, it would have been engaged in trade with Portugal.
  • The town of Caerleon in Newport is situated on the River Usk. In his History of the Kings of Britain Geoffrey of Monmouth described Caerleon, and the town goes on to feature in many subsequent tales about King Arthur.
  • Several fiction books have been written about the River Usk. For example, Pippa McCathie’s Murder By the River Usk is the third book in her The Havard and Lambert Mysteries series.
  • The Welsh name for the River Usk is Afon Wysg.
  • The popular Usk Valley walk is 48 miles long.
  • The River Usk is featured in Season 2 Episode 1 of the Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing TV show. In this episode, comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse go fishing for brown trout.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or learn more about some of the longest rivers in the UK.