River West Dart - Two Bridges to Dartmeet

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River West Dart - Two Bridges to Dartmeet

Postby Mark R » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:08 pm

Last edited by Mark R on Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:25 pm

On the second to last rapid before the confluence at Dartmeet, there is a large tree, blocking all the water course but a narrow channel on the river left. This is a significant tree, and will take a large flood to move it on.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby jmmoxon » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:00 am

Guess this is same as in July viewtopic.php?f=20&t=53068

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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:29 am

Indeed Mike, where to add updates, do we simply do an extra post or add to the current river description?
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby jmmoxon » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:35 am

I think they should be with the description, which is why I added the link above, it helps to know it is a long term problem.

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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby morsey » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:01 am

The tree is still firmly embedded on the West Dart. We paddled from Two Bridges today. Aside from the tree and the usual over hanging branches there were no other obstacles on the river.
Before we drove up I took this quick shot of the levels on the rocks at Hexworthy Bridge next to the lay by:
Image
The river dropped an inch or two because the (underwater grass) ledge in the foreground was exposed when we got to the bridge. At that level it was all rocks covered the whole way down the river. And there was still an eight feet wide clear channel to the left of the tree down near the confluence.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:01 pm

In a recent meeting with Mike Maslin, the EA Fisheries Officer for the Dart above Buckfastleigh, I was informed on several concerns with paddlesport and game fish spawning. This meeting was a few weeks back, and highlighted a growing concern for kayaker's using both Two Bridges and Cherry Brook to put on the West Dart. Now through this meeting we went to all the spots, and the extend of game fish spawning was highlighted extensively. So much so, that I will curtail the use of either venue to access the West Dart.

Both West Dart from Two Bridges to the confluence of Black Brook, Black Brook itself and Cherry Brook are the 3 main prime spawning Redds for Slalom and Sea Trout on the West Dart. Cherry Brook is the most significant spawning Redd in the whole catchment, by some way according to the stats I was shown. Thus anyone attempting to put on at Cherry Brook, if an EA Officer is present will be warned not to do so and if they continue to attempt to paddle, will be arrested under the Terms of the 1975 Fisheries Act.

Now in wishing to always find a middle path, I asked Mike a number of pointed questions;
When are these important conservation sites out of bounds? November to mid February.
Would the EA object to paddling at that time from Huccaby Bridge on the West Bridge? No, they would not
What about from the bridge at Princes Hall? Mike would rather we did not, as there are some Redds just down river of the Swincombe confluence
And if the river was over bank fall at Two Bridges? Again Mike would rather we did not, and he could understand that we'd be floating well above the Redds, yet its a fine line and bank fall is quite high for the section.

Next week, I hope to go out again with Mike to clarify any and all of the above, if you have questions, please get back to myself via PM or email.

Lastly, at Dartmeet and in the interest again of conservation, can paddlers avoid the Redds at the confluence, these are all the way over on river left, at the end of the open field just downstream of the bridge at Dartmeet. He would prefer if we put on just after the bridge and ferried over to the river right channel to access the confluence. This is merely a request forwarded on for our interest.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby storm » Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:28 am

Hi Simon some signage would be really useful to avoid any unintentional disturbance mayby the EA and BCU could sort this,would be really positive if done properly.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby morsey » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:14 am

Mr Maslin once again is getting confused between his EA work and his angling interests.

Look at the photo in my post above. You will note a grass bank on the right. If you look closely you will note another large grass bank under water. Does grass grow under water? The second ledge is well covered in that photo and as I stated at that level all rocks are covered from Two Bridges down. Mr Maslin does not give a clear viewpoint from the EA, he is too entrenched in his own interests to give an impartial view on this matter.

I shall have no issue in continuing to paddle the West Dart river.

Just incase he starts to make the claims again, Mr Maslin (I checked with the EA) is not an EA Fisheries bailiff and does not have powers of arrest. He is a member of Dart fisheries and once again is demonstrating his desire to keep paddlers off the river for no reason other than for the purpose of agenda of the fisheries.

The high tributaries of the West and East Dart are a different matter as they are essentially streams, where impact may be an issue. The main rivers themselves certainly can sustain canoeing as an activity of minimal impact.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Mark Allen » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:03 am

morsey wrote:Mr Maslin once again is getting confused between his EA work and his angling interests.

Just incase he starts to make the claims again, Mr Maslin (I checked with the EA) is not an EA Fisheries bailiff and does not have powers of arrest.


So he must be braking the law walking around Newbridge with a Extendable Baton (like the police) stuck to his utility vest!!!
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:43 am

morsey wrote:Mr Maslin once again is getting confused between his EA work and his angling interests.

Just incase he starts to make the claims again, Mr Maslin (I checked with the EA) is not an EA Fisheries bailiff and does not have powers of arrest. He is a member of Dart fisheries and once again is demonstrating his desire to keep paddlers off the river for no reason other than for the purpose of agenda of the fisheries.


Mike Maslin works for EA, Environment Officer: Fisheries, and his area is South Devon, specifically the Dart Catchment. Mike is a fully warranted EA Officer, and you can meet him at the RDCP in January for an open forum on the EA position, and conservation. Dates to be confirmed soon.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:45 pm

Here is an extract from the EA's forthcoming Press Release

Environment Agency appeals to River Dart canoeists to safeguard salmon stocks

The Environment Agency is holding an Open Forum event at the River Dart Country Park near Ashburton on January 16th starting at 6:00pm when it will explain its salmon conservation work on the River Dart and take questions from people with an interest in the river including canoeists. Mike Maslin from the Environment Agency has said “I would really like to see and meet as many paddlers as possible. The forum is a two way thing, and I want to hear what they would like to see in the future, and hear how we can work together for the benefit of the ecology of the river. I strongly believe that paddlers can play a large part in looking after what we all love, the River Dart.”

At the moment the Environment Agency is looking to win the support of canoeists and believes only a minority of paddlers are launching on the West Dart will little regard for any damage or harm they might be causing to spawning salmon.

The ‘King of Fish’ is legally protected under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. Anyone caught deliberately disturbing these remarkable fish when spawning, can face prosecution. As the law stands that includes irresponsible canoeists.

‘We’re a long way from prosecuting anyone and, at the moment, much prefer the educational approach, but that option is available to us if we encounter irresponsible paddlers,’ said Mike Maslin.


As you can see, the EA understand that paddling is taking place upstream of Dartmeet, and are not wishing to judge whether this is authorised or not, but would like to ensure that conservation considerations are taken by those paddlers launching on the West Dart. The above Open Forum will take place at the RDCP next Saturday, hosted by Gene17 with Simon Westgarth chairing the proceedings. After introductions, Mike will deliver a short presentation on salmon in the River Dart and then will take questions from the floor. Please be clear that this meeting is intending to expand paddler's understanding of spawning fish in the River Dart catchment and how we can ease the EA's concerns.

All are welcome to attend this presentation and open forum.

Regards

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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Simon Westgarth » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:39 pm

The EA's FULL Press release, regarding a forthcoming meeting at the RDCP.
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Re: RIVER WEST DART (Two Bridges to Dartmeet)

Postby Chas C » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:36 pm

Simon Westgarth wrote:The EA's FULL Press release, regarding a forthcoming meeting at the RDCP.


Simon - I do understand the position your taking and you should be applauded for it, however, I find the content, wording and positioning of this press release totally unacceptable.

edit: I do hope the meeting, which I cannot attend, is more fruitful.
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Re: River West Dart - Two Bridges to Dartmeet

Postby pete thorn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:25 pm

As of last week I have been appointed as Regional Waterways Adviser for the South West, taking over from Adam Box. The update below brings a bit more clarity to the West Dart situation.

I met with Tom Stratton, the Manager of the Dartmoor area Duchy of Cornwall, to discuss canoe access on the West Dart. It was clear that the river was paddled in higher flows, although not with his agreement. He had not received many complaints from his tenant farmers, if any in recent times. He acknowledged Canoe England’s stance on access as specified in the CE Position Statement, but did not accept its argument about legal uncertainty.
His concerns had been based on the ‘attitudes’ of some paddlers; we know there have been altercations in the past, largely as reaction to quite aggressive challenges to paddlers. The main concern was about parking at Prince Hall or Hexworthy Bridge, where narrow roads were easily obstructed for agricultural vehicles. The other concern was about possible damage to the environment, including salmon redds and bank erosion. It was conceded that there was no evidence of these.
Tom was not willing to add the West Dart to the Dart Fisheries statement (see earlier link) but was content with the ‘status quo’. This can be taken to mean that provided the issues above did not result in complaints, he would not be taking any action to prevent paddling. If you choose to paddle this section, it will help to ensure this understanding for shared use is maintained if vehicles are always parked with consideration for others and you only paddle when water levels are adequate to avoid the risk of grounding.
It has been suggested that if people choose to paddle this section of the Dart, then access be made downstream of Two Bridges, where a decent layby (GR 612749), on the south side of the road, can give access through a gate and a short carry down to an S bend in the river. In normal flows, this section is unpaddleable and the river would need to be in semi-spate at least. With the connection to Dartmeet, none of the issues identified as problems are likely to be created.
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