The River Teme rises in mid-Wales south of Newtown, Powys and flows through Ludlow in Shropshire, then between Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire and Burford, Shropshire on its way to join the River Severn south of Worcester. The whole of the River Teme was designated as an SSSI, by English Nature, in 1996.
The river source is in the Kerry Hills near Dolfor and south of Newtown. It flows across the border into England close to Knighton. From there to its confluence with the River Severn, at Worcester (about 60 miles/100 km downstream) it flows through Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire. The upper reaches of the river are usually steep with fast flowing but relatively shallow waters. There are some mills, and a number of weirs, including several at Ludlow. Below Tenbury the river is more tranquil but still quite shallow, with strong cross currents. Water levels in the Teme are highly variable, something which has been made worse in recent years through increases in water extraction for agriculture use.
During its journey the river flows over Upper Ludlow shales and Devonian sandstones.
The River Clun flows into the Teme at Leintwardine, Herefordshire. The Ledwyche Brook flows into the Teme at Burford, Shropshire. The Kyre Brook flows into the Teme at Tenbury Wells. The River Rea flows into the Teme at Newnham Bridge, Worcestershire, a few miles south of Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, and the River Corve flows into the Teme just outside Ludlow.
The river falls nearly 500 metres during its length from a height of 506 metres above sea level at its source to just 14 metres above sea-level at its confluence with the River Severn.