GUIDE TO THE RIVER TAMAR
(Greystone Quarry to Horsebridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Tamar.
WHERE IS IT?: It forms the border between Devon and Cornwall, flowing south.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Greystone Quarry to Horsebridge, see below for details. It's possible to continue downstream from this section.
You need to access the river 300 metres upstream of Greystone bridge on river right (Cornwall!) where there is an unmarked track down to a water extraction building (SX 367805) beside the river. There is no worthwhile parking here and your vehicle will not be welcome parked near the entrance of the Quarry a little way up the hill. At Horsebridge (SX 400749), there are several options for parking, of which the best is on the river right side of the river.
APPROX LENGTH: See below.
TIME NEEDED: Unknown.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: See below.
GRADING: Flat water with weirs.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Weirs.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Tamar is a pleasant touring river being wide and fairly predictable for most of its length, with quiet pools and small rapids interspersed with weirs ranging from 2 - 4 feet in height. These 'V' shaped weirs are usually best shot in the middle but demand extreme caution in high water when serious stoppers are common. They can be portaged on the left bank but care must be taken to avoid the fishing stands which are built out into the river and which can be serious obstacles when the river is high. It should also be noted that the speed and quantity of flow during floods can make it impossible or at least very difficult to 'swim' a capsized canoe to the bank; paddlers should therefore be of at least two star standard.
GREYSTONE QUARRY Water Extraction Point (368805) marks the upstream limit of the access agreement. It lies 300 metres north of Greystone Bridge on the west side of the river. There is a small gap in a hedge beyond which is a ramp to the pump house: park on the flat land just beyond but be careful not to block the access which is used 7 days a week. Launching is possible 50 metres upstream of this point. At GREYSTONE BRIDGE (368804) park in the entrance to a track on the east (Devon) bank above the Bridge, but launch below the bridge on the same side. Please shut the gate and do not obstruct the track.
From here to Horsebridge is generally flat water with several weirs which are fairly evenly distributed along its length. At normal flows this section should be well within the capabilities of most paddlers, but note the above comments about high flows.
HORSEBRIDGE (400748) marks the start of a slightly more active river which can also be reached from LATCHLEY/LAMERHOO FORD (399733). At Horsebridge you can park on the roadside about 50m from the river on the Cornish bank and launch from the same bank just above the bridge. The steps at this access point were kindly provided by the Environment Agency. At Latchley Ford, which is approached from a very narrow lane through Latchley Village, you can park on the grass verge just before the river, but do not obstruct the lane.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Adam Box, Regional River Advisor, Devon and Cornwall.