Planning to take a visit this September and wonder where to get the best view (ideally free)?
My favourite spot is manor ditch bend. This is just over a mile downstream from Over Bridge. Grid ref SO 802179. The wave has a chance to reform on the straight run up to this right angle bend. Splashes will overtop the bank as the bore passes if the river is high and if the bore is a good one. As it is over a mile from the nearest road it is often deserted.
A good spot if the river is low, is lower parting (SO 816189). At Gloucester the river splits into two channels. Lower parting is the spot where the east and west channels re-join. If you watch here the bore is coming straight at you. The wave will break in the shallow water at the parting before splitting. The larger part will travel up the west channel to Over Bridge, with a lesser wave continuing up the east channel.
If you don't want walk as far there are two good spots in Minsterworth. These are at Minsterworth Church (SO 773170), and at the Severn Bore Inn (SO 754153) . The Inn is very popular with surfers, but the car parking there does fill up early. At the church, and the nearby village hall, there is organised parking for the larger bores if they fall on a weekend. Donations are requested for parking, say £2 typically but it is up to you. If they are charging there will be refreshments available. The money raised goes to church and village hall funds.
Further downstream, at Newnham the river is wider. The bore is less high, and less spectacular here, but it is fascinating to watch the tide quickly cover the sand banks in the river. The bore arrives at Newnham about an hour before Minsterworth, so it is quite easy to see it twice.
Finally, Maisemore weir (SO817217). The bore reaches here some 45 minutes after Minsterworth. As the bore hits the weir the wave is killed. The turbulent water subsides and the sound of the weir is cancelled as the incoming tide rises to the same height as the water above the weir. I find the drop in noise levels quite moving. You become aware of noises, such as birdsong, which you had not noticed before. At weekends and evening bores you can get to Maisemore in time after seeing the bore at Minsterworth. On weekday mornings the traffic queuing towards Gloucester may prevent this.
I live in Gloucestershire, on the west side of the River Severn. I have never viewed the bore from the east bank.Edited: 29 July 2014, 15:46
What a brilliant answer. thank you very much