- Last Updated on Monday, 21 November 2011 19:26
- Written by Dan King and Simon Medlyn.
GUIDE TO THE FOWEY RIVER
(Two Waters Foot to Bodmin Parkway Station)
NAME OF RIVER: Fowey.
WHERE IS IT?: South east Cornwall. River Fowey, Approx. 4 miles west of Liskeard, 1 mile west of Trago Mills! The river follows the A38 towards Bodmin.
Here is a map.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Put-in at The Halfway House Pub near Two Waters Foot. OS Landranger 201. Park in the pub car park. Use overflow car park if possible. Use the steps, which are signposted BCU access etc. right hand bank, right outside pub front.
Take out is at Bodmin Parkway train station. Turn into station road off A38 and park by the British Rail gate just before the railway bridge. There is room for 2-3 cars at a push.
APPROX LENGTH: Approx. 2 1/2 miles
TIME NEEDED: You can blast it in 30 minutes but with Playing 2 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: This area is very popular for the fisherman in season.
I have only ever met one person on the bank and she waved and said hello whilst walking her dog.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There is a gauge half way down the river which is easy to look at from the road before getting on. On the A38 there is a small crossroads by a creamy/ orange painted cottage. One way is Lostwithiel the other is signposted Cardinham. Take the Cardinham turning and the gauge is on river right just below the bridge. Top red line is 3 ft and bottom is 2.5ft. Below 2.5 is a scrape and not worth it really.
At higher levels the smaller weirs get washed out but the larger of the drops get better.
GRADING: Mostly grade 1 with some great grade 2 drops and small rapids. Dont be gutted by how flat this river is. For Cornwall it has two great playspots.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: All of the weirs/ drops are pretty easy and can be read from your boat. There are two large trees on the river though (winter 05/06). The first being only 300 metres from the start which is passable on river right. The second is half way down the river after a big right hand bend. It can be passed underneath on the left hand side in low water. In high water, paddle over it on river right.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is quite small and is suitable for small groups of four or five at the most.
From the get in the river is flat for approx 500 metres and winds its way into the woods of the Glynn Valley.
After a small broken weir/drop, The river flattens out again with various fishing walls and well placed boulders creating some good eddylines for squirting and beginners to moving water.
After a small tributary from the right, the river bends left by a large house and another drop produces a great hole for playing in. Nice and deep with two good eddies. The higher the level, the better the hole.
Following on from this the river has a couple of small grade 2 rapids which flow down under a small stone bridge that can easily be flushed out depending on the level.
The next point of interest on the river is the second play wave. A lot smaller and friendlier than the top one but also gets better the higher the river is. After a small metal footbridge the river continues with small grade 2 rapids. There are not many eddies on this river apart from the odd fishing wall. But at the grade they are not really needed. After a while you reach the gauge bridge. Gauge on river right, after bridge. If you are on the river just for the play waves then this is a good point to get off. Egress river left after the bridge. You can park about 100 metres from the bridge by the forestry commission gate. Room for 4 or five cars either side of gate.
If you decide to carry on the river quietly winds away from the road and then back towards it with mostly flat moving water and the odd grade 2 bimble.
The only other significant drop is not far from the end. A rocky route on river left or a small slot like drop next to the right bank. The choice is yours. You will then come across the main A38 road bridge with a small weir underneath the bridge which creates a fun surf wave and nice stopper in higher levels. Get out river left straight after the bridge in a nice big eddy. You can follow a fishermans track up to the gate. Get out is possible below this but you will have to get up the steep bank and walk through the woods and brambles etc. I think this is British Rail land so be careful, discreet etc.
OTHER NOTES: Anyone done the river Fowey between the Golitha falls section and this? Should be a slightly steeper version of this I guess.
If this section is running at 3ft then the Camel is definitely worth a look for another quick river.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Dan King and Simon Medlyn.
We were also accosted by a rather irate land owner, who threatened us with prosecution and a large fine for paddling on his water, I politely said I thought there was an access agreement, and was told in no uncertain terms that there was not and never had been (the water level on the gauge was just above the red line at 3ft), he also told us we were damaging and destroying the salmon eggs in the river! I said I would check this information with the environment agency and said we would move on down the river. This incident rather spoiled what should have been a nice relaxing paddle and upset one of our less able paddlers to such an extent that they then capsized. The owner then proceeded to take pictures of us rescuing the paddler and emptying the boat this further upset every one.
One not very happy paddler.
There used to be an access agreement for this stretch which was very restrictive but I don't think you will find that it is still in place, the fisherfolks wanted to charge us £300 a year, I believe it was, in order to maintain the access agreement at which point the access officer politely told them where they could stick the agreement so now we just paddle when there is water to do so.
I have had a notice left on my windscreen threatening to arrest me for aggravated trespass when paddling this river in the summer which I must admit caused me some amusement but have never had any hassle at all in the winter so I am really quite shocked by this event. I am sorry to hear that your paddling was a bit spoiled by some twonk, I do hope you enjoyed the rest of the river though.
P.S. Where exactly on the river did this happen?
Like Denzil said, it is pretty rare to get any hassle outside the fishing season on this stretch but it seems the fisher folk are keeping an eye out for paddlers due to there not being an agreement this year. I had a chat with two fishermen from the Liskeard Angling Club on tuesday when I was getting on and although they were aware that the agreement had ceased they were happy for us to paddle as long as the level was good (They did mention that other fishermen may not be so friendly!). Throughout our journey we saw quite a few fishermen scowling at us from the bridges but we had a hassle free trip. It sucks when someone like that ruins your day on the river and unfortunately some of the guys on this stretch seem to think they have the power to tell you what to do. Was it by the big yellow house on river right just next to the first good hole by any chance?
I hope this doesn't put you off paddling this stretch because its a great section of river . I have never seen any other groups on the river whilst paddling.
Thanks for the comments, I don't want to go out of my way to annoy an one but this sort of attitude just makes me think lets paddle it as much as possible. I will be paddling this stretch again as soon as we have enough water to stay within the now de-funked access agreement.