If you’re looking for an August bank holiday outing, Ironbridge Coracle Regatta, held between 12 noon and 4pm on 29 August, looks like a lot of fun.

The event takes place along the picturesque stretch of the River Severn at Dale End Park, Ironbridge, and is free to watch. Food and refreshments will be available, plus a variety of shore-based activities and arts and crafts stalls to browse and buy.

The event attracts coracle makers and paddlers from all over Britain who participate in madcap races, team games, coracle polo matches and other fiercely contended competitions.

Novice paddlers can have a go in the water for free using traditional coracles handmade by the Green Wood Centre charity, or anyone with their own coracle can bring it along and join in the races (life jackets provided).

Used for thousands of years, coracles are flat bottomed boats made from woven wood covered in animal skins, or more often nowadays, canvas sewn on and waterproofed with tar or bitumen. They are light and roughly circular, making them ideal for shallow water and carrying overland, but hard to control. They were used for fishing, ferrying and – commonly in Ironbridge – for poaching. Before the advent of the Iron Bridge, they were also used to ferry people and goods from one side of the River Severn to the other.