The Ewenny is a small river, in places little more than 6ft wide, fast and tumbling, but it can also open into pools over 6ft deep and 30ft wide! It sports broad riffles, long sunny runs and shady forest glades, giving both angler and quarry a wonderful variety of environment to experience.
The River displays several distinctive zones throughout it's course, each with it’s own distinguishing character.
The uppermost beat is narrow and shaded, with the river taking the form of an often waist-deep channel, edged either side by exposed bedrock and high banks. Wading can be tricky here, and care must be taken when stepping into the centre of the channel...it can be a sudden drop of nearly 3 feet! There follows a series of small pools and the addition of a further tributary before the river runs below a small road bridge, and funnels into a petite, narrow, writhing, teardrop pool before rapidly widening and shallowing into a long, shallow, broad riffle.
From this point the angler will enter a sunny, open and straight section of water, in which the flow slows dramatically as it runs adjacent to fields. Terrestrial insect imitations often score well here, as the breeze sweeping the open bank carries a variety insects into the water to good numbers of waiting fish. At the bottom of this section there are two small weirs emptying into deep, lazy pools and a short, very slow glide. The bank here is engineered, providing access for disabled anglers, along with benches, a small rain shelter and a private car-park opposite for club members.
Club shelter on the bank by the members car-park
At this point the river flows over a concrete ford and down a larger weir, which sports a well maintained fish-pass. The pool below is deep, and exposed tree roots anchor the banks, providing a dark lair for some sizeable fish. Submerged boulders lie on the fringes of the pool, so care must be taken when wading.
Downstream of this point, the Ewenny changes again; the flow picks up in pace, zig-zagging through a wooded and shady course, with a wonderful succession of fast riffles, deep runs and turbulent pools.
The long section above the fish pass
There are so many pockets of potential fish holding water that the thorough angler can find himself spending many hours working just a half a mile of river. Wading is variable, generally gravel underfoot, but with loose rocks and small boulders which can trip the unwary.
At roughly the halfway point on this woodland section, the Ewenny spills into by far the largest pool in its course, the aptly named Kingfisher Pool after it’s flitting emerald inhabitants. At the tail-end, the water accelerates through the glades once more, eventually spilling into another large but open pool. After a fast exit, the water runs beneath a metal footbridge and into a gently curving, smooth glide, banked by vegetation but open to the sun, and host to good numbers of wary fish.
The slow glide by the metal footbridge
After a shaded meander through the woods and another cattle-crossing, there’s another distinctive change in character. The river broadens and holds a good, steady pace through grazed common, flanked by dense gorse, willow and mint. It follows a fairly straight course over a succession of stepped, rocky weirs which create a wonderful repeating cycle of deep, clear glides and fizzing, churning pools. Between the pools on the upper 'Moors' section (as it is known) are two longer glides, almost chest deep on the right, with a few very large submerged rocks creating excellent lies. Lower down the river shallows and picks up pace, getting more enclosed again before reaching the beat's lower boundary.
Fast riffles and pocket water - home to many fish!
The beautiful stepped pools on the Moors section
There is a significant break in permitted access at this point, and lower down, where access is once more allowed (known as the 'Fords' section, adjacent to the Ford factory on the outskirts of Bridgend), the Ewenny finally inherits a little of it’s ‘industrial’ nature, as the engineered but well manicured channel flows alongside the big industrial estates of Bridgend. Wading here is not allowed at any time, and PADAC shares this section with Ogmore Angling (they have the left bank, PADAC has the right) but diligent is the angler who doesn’t dismiss what this section as to offer as, restricted though the fishing is, it can be highly rewarding.
This variety of flow, depth, light and cover provides variety for the fish and wildlife of the river, and gives the angler the rare choice to elect to fish different parts of the river each time he visits and thus feel that the experience remains fresh and challenging throughout the changing seasons.
PADAC's carpark can be found here, just above the fish-pass.