River East Lyn - Watersmeet to the Sea

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by storm » Mon May 11, 2009 11:06 pm

Lets see what happens in June,we know that the NT, the river baliff ,the new owners of Myrtelberry and many of the buisness especially the pubs around Brendon and the new cycle shop in Lynmouth are supportive we have had no issues with fishermen ,it would be a travisty if our impact is seen as worse than the many thousands of visitors to watersmeet,kids swimming and fishing in the river,dogs etc.The parrelel to green laneing is a non starter and wouldnt stand up.Lets hope a reasonable level can be aggred and we can have a modlle arrangement that other rivers can use as template.Well done for your efforts Pete.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Mark R » Tue May 12, 2009 7:35 am

Can someone explain please ... what's the difference between an Access Agreement, and an Access Arrangement?
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Dave Thomas » Tue May 12, 2009 10:27 am

As I see things it is, perhaps paradoxically, "agreement". Agreement between all parties that canoeing is not detrimental to anything natural or anyone else's enjoyment of the river save possibly in certain demonstrable, identified and mutually agreed circumstances of time or conditions.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by jmmoxon » Tue May 12, 2009 6:45 pm

The difference is that an arrangement is on terms that are more favourable to us than the present agreement!

The advantage is that if the research supports that kayakers are not a problem, then it gives us more leverage for access to other rivers...

The environmental impact assessment is probably follow up to articles like this: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 0/abstract
Domestic and European conservation legislation requires an assessment of the implications for wildlife of any proposal (such as the introduction of a right of access) at designated site level.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by morsey » Mon May 18, 2009 1:54 pm

I imagine the levels were good to go yesterday and probably today as well!

No immediate impact on canoeing!

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by ben westcott » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:17 am

Anyone know what the levels are like today?

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Captain Common Sense » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:53 am

Reports are lyn is brown and "top end of high but dropping".
I am quite keen to go but can't seem to rally anyone else...

Please let me know if interested.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by storm » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:06 pm

Hi paddled today uppersection has significent tree hazard starting with first drop of triple fall easy sneak route left or right at med level,big tree across river before slides definate portage as there is another tree att bottom of slides.Class 4 rapid above long pool ok,long pool completetly tree choked,river fine after this point,but to be honest upper section is not that great at the moment and definatly needs a lot of work.Water level droping fast this evening.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by morsey » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:33 pm

I sent off a request for Andy Green to give full clarification with regards the ban on the East Lyn.

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by storm » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:50 pm

What ban ,as far as i am aware discusions have broken down on the issue of summer paddleing so the old rules of exerciseing common sense ,being courteouse when threatend or abused,makeing pleasent convesation with the genuinly quite friendly fisher folk ,not paddleing when low,and keeping a low profile,should ensure buisness as usual.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by morsey » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:13 am

No reply as yet.

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:58 pm

Following the meeting with interested parties on 3 June, Andy Green has replied to Morsey's emails and the text is shown below, with the original questions. I hope it explains itself and gives more detail about the current situation.

Full details of the study being carried out?
We don’t know what form the assessment will take as the representative from Natural England was not familiar with the processes involved. We think it will be a desktop exercise, based on research material, plus records of current wild life sightings. It transpires that NT is requesting the assessment be done for the winter period only, which they now consider to be 1 October to 31 March. This largely coincides with existing paddling activity periods, so does not constitute ‘new’ activity.

Full details of any ban and whether this ban is being applied to all river users or just canoeists?

The Property Manager stated his opposition to any canoeing until the findings of the assessment were known. He also made it clear that he would not resort to NT Byelaws to enforce this but reserved the option of injunctions against persistent paddlers.
Any ban cannot be applied to other river users, he said, where people owned fishing rights which he had no control over.


Can you give the official BCU response to the ban, and specifically any objection if it only applies to canoeists?

We noted at the meeting that the ban was not based on any identified risk. While we noted his position and would publicise it we did not endorse it. We stressed that once winter levels returned, the paddling public would not respect his wishes if the assessment process dragged on for months.

Full details of the current situation regarding the entire river? I.e. not just the section from Watersmeet to the sea, but including the upper reaches of the river?

Having offered 365 days paddling, subject to levels and environmental concerns, NT have now withdrawn that offer, following pressure from owners of fishing rights upstream of Watersmeet. Peter Thorn has queried why their objections should hold sway over an area of river they do not own or have rights over; the LROA apparently fear that summer paddling on the lower stretch will lead to the upper section also being accessed. The Riparian Owners Association, plus the Exmoor Society have considerable influence on local officers. The NT national officer was present on 3 June (Joe Burgon) and was clearly backing a 365 day arrangement. However, he allows local officers to make their own decisions. We are actively talking to NT nationally, as a clear national strategic position would take the pressure off local officers.
The current offer is for paddling on the Watersmeet to Lynmouth stretch to be from 1 October to 31 March. As this does not meet the DEFRA/EA recommended position, we can only note the position and keep people informed. We do not feel in a position to endorse it. NT will perhaps have difficulty with this, as they feel much effort and some expense is being expended on paddlers behalf. Their position is spelt out in the attached statement, recently received.
As for the stretch from Brendon to Watersmeet, representatives from the Lyn ROA said at the meeting that they are not resistant to an ‘agreement’ for the closed season. However, they have declined to meet with our River Adviser for two and a half years, and have hedged any discussions with preconditions we cannot accept. We do not feel it is appropriate to pursue this further.
However, the NT officers feel progress can be made. We are sceptical, but it does mean NT continues to oppose paddling on this stretch, until a majority of the LROA agree. We have pointed out that if it is acceptable to paddle on one part of the river, there are no logical arguments to banning it elsewhere.



The position at Brendon Village Hall (the favoured access point) is that the whole site is owned by Fields in Trust, which is in the process of transferring ownership to the Brendon Village Hall Charity. It is clear that with public toilets and the car park maintained by Exmoor NPA, they are intended for public use, not just local people. Fields in Trust have confirmed this. The Charity’s details can be seen on the Charity Commission’s website and it is clear that the beneficiaries of the Charity are ‘The general public and mankind’. Our advice to anyone using the car park is to remain polite at all times.
The National Trust is the riparian owner for the river left bank from Rockford down to the sea, apart from Myrtleberry and a section in Lynmouth. They are riparian owners for the entire river right bank from the Brendon Village Hall to Lynmouth, apart from one house just below Brendon. The fishing rights for most of this are owned by NT, leased to the EA for issuing permits. Fishing rights on the river left bank from Rockford to Watersmeet, including the Hoaroke, is owned by two people who are very resistant to any notion of paddling in the fishing season, but are relaxed about closed season paddling.

In Summary
Canoe England is unable to support or endorse the proposed arrangement for the Lyn or the Hoaroke.
We do however accept the request for an environmental assessment to be carried out and would ask paddlers to respect this request. We do consider this environmental request to be time limited and will be closely monitoring the progress of this work. We are strongly making the point that we consider that this assessment should apply to all users, and not just to paddlers.

Andy Green
Head of Access and Environment
Canoe England
.
Last edited by pete thorn on Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:06 pm

The document being issued by the National Trust, which states their position regarding canoeing on the East Lyn is copied in below. The webcam is fitted but won't be active till the start of the season they have specified, i.e. 1 October.


East Lyn River Welcome

The River Lyn is an extremely special place. It has some of the purest water of any river in the country, is famous for its’ salmon and trout, has a good population of dippers, heron and otter and when in spate is wild and dangerous, beautiful and majestic.

Between 1st October and 31st March you are welcome to canoe from Watersmeet House to Lynmouth, but only if there is enough water. It is one of the most difficult rivers to canoe in England, in places Grade 5, and should only be attempted by skilled and experienced paddlers.

Does the webcam river level or riverside marker show green?
If so you are welcome to canoe. If the marker shows red please do not attempt to canoe as you will be interfering with the various special interests on the river.

Keep to the designated access points at Watersmeet House and Lyn Rock. Parking is available above Watersmeet House in the pay and display car park.

Please keep disturbance to a minimum and do not linger in pools.

Avoid contact with the river gravels (from feet, paddles and the underside of canoes) as they may be sensitive salmon spawning areas. Please take note from the map where these areas are.

Please keep to small groups and keep noise to a minimum, respecting all other users of the river and its bankside paths.

Please refer to Canoe England’s Guidance on “You, your canoe and the environment” for essential general information about canoeing.

Please be the eyes and ears of the river and report wildlife sightings, pollution, litter or other issues to the Trust’s Wardens on 01598 763306 or to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

This is a pilot project involving the National Trust, Environment Agency and the British Canoe Union.

Canoeing on the Hoaroak Water, ie above the waterfalls by Watersmeet House, is not permitted

Canoeing between Rockford/ Brendon and Watersmeet is also not allowed or supported at present

Commercial canoeing activities are not permitted
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by meatballs » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:11 pm

Sorry isit possible to clarify one post says:

"This is a pilot project involving the National Trust, Environment Agency and the British Canoe Union" whereas the other says Canoe England don't endorse the agreement?

Paddle as normal anyway. What do you think of the green water level marker Pete?
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:14 pm

The pilot is for NT and EA. The statement is made by NT. We went through a government pilot through EA and Brighton Uni which resulted in the Defra/EA guidance on 365 days referred to, which CE is sticking to for the present. It may be that experience shows the Defra/EA guidance to be unworkable.
The green level has been agreed with the NT Area Warden and I think anything lower will just be bump and scrape. However, the gauge board has yet to be fitted and I have asked to be involved, as others may want it higher. If it is set too high the system will lack credibility. Will keep you informed.
It's not quite business as usual as the current environmental restriction means paddling just now upsets agencies which are basically supportive and gives political ammunition to our opponents. We are pressing for a quick resolution to this.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by SPL » Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:12 pm

Surely if using their traffic light system and there is enough water to paddle without causing harm then the date is irrelevant and we can paddle all year which is what alot of paddlers do anyway as scrapping down the Lyn is dire anyway.

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:16 am

NT are saying they will turn the webcam off from 1 April till 30 September. As it will be useful to other river users during the summer, this may change.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by morsey » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:50 am

pete thorn wrote:Following the meeting with interested parties on 3 June, Andy Green has replied to Morsey's emails and the text is shown below.
Thanks for posting this Pete, Andy Green explained there had been server issues which had prevented me getting his initial reply.

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by jmmoxon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:49 pm

This document demonstrates the lack of progress in the last 5 years: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/m_pdf/q_e_Ri ... ngland.pdf
4.3 At its meeting on May 31 Exmoor (Local Access Forum) resolved:

1) to recommend the National Park Authority to actively promote voluntary water
access agreements through informing the public of the existing agreements on
rivers within the National Park and seek to act as an intermediary between
canoeist groups and riparian owners, when and where applicable, to try to secure
further access agreements;
2) to inform the British Canoe Union of this decision; and
3) to ask the National Park Authorities to provide a further report within the next
two years to the Forum, the British Canoe Union and angling interests on the
progress made.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:53 pm

To update, Natural England have finally assessed and found no reason to prevent canoeing. This is in line with their earlier Memorandum of Understanding with Canoe England. The letter below was received today by email. National Trust is 95% the riparian owner and the position taken is an inclusive arrangement, not an agreement with one body. I have not seen the letter from NE but their assessment was for the river below Brendon. It seems clear they are treating all the river as one, not just the Watersmeet to Lynmouth section. I think we should welcome NT's proactive moves. They are doing much of this in the teeth of opposition from vested and selfish interests.

'Dear all

Following our application to Natural England for consent to allow and welcome canoeing on part of the river Lyn I am now letting you know that following their evaluation of the notice we have now received written consent.

As background we have attempted to balance all stakeholder interests on the river before applying and as you know hosted a meeting in June 2009 between many government agencies, other riparian owners and canoe interests. The result of this meeting, our listening to concerned others, and the position of the British Canoe Union, was for us to apply for consent to re-instate the arrangement for canoeing on the river Lyn, ie for winter canoeing only, albeit now supported by a webcam based at Watersmeet House.

As stated before we are keen to promote responsible canoeing with good quality information and will now work to introduce this with the Environment Agency as soon as possible. This will hopefully include an updated pamphlet for fishing and canoeing and will include a graphic of the river with named pools and features such as the two ingress points, and locations of spawning areas. New panels will be needed to interpret the river, the fishery and canoe access. In combination with the webcam output canoe access should be well informed and the environmental impact minimised as a result. The new maps will include locations of possible spawning areas as well as excluded areas.

We still uphold a total ban on canoeing on the Hoaroak Water on Trust land.

The arrangement is still a pilot project with the EA nationally and locally, and importantly consent has been given for a period of three years. It then terminates. With data from hopefully three counters on usage we will then fully review the arrangement, consider the situation, impacts on others and levels of use, and apply again if appropriate.

The arrangement will be based on water level limits as agreed 8th Dec 2008, between the EA, BCU and ourselves. We hope that the webcam can now be operational as soon as possible. At present it is worth noting that the river is currently 1' below the accepted limit. Consent has been given on the basis of an approximate usage by a maximum of 25 canoeists in any day, ie 3 to 4 groups of 4 to 6 paddlers, on an expected 70 days in any winter season. This is an expectation and not a limit that we would suggest rigorously policing or advertising. If it is obvious that this level is being exceeded we would expect to review the arrangement before waiting three years.

The Trust is particularly keen to think that the arrangement takes into account that a further agreement for winter canoeing between Watersmeet and Brendon is under discussion by others and could “bolt on” to what we are now consented for.

The consent is for winter canoeing on the river Lyn between Watersmeet and Lynmouth, in line with the attached welcome document aimed at potential users, which we hope explains the details of the activity and our expectations of users. This does not include the property at Myrtleberry as paddlers will be expected to keep to the right hand side of the river at this point unless otherwise invited, and does not include egress beyond the Trust’s boundary at Lynmouth. The document will form the initial onsite temporary guidance and the surround to the website content. Julian will be erecting the welcome poster as soon as the marker is in place on Watersmeet bridge to inform the arangement. The webcam will be fully operational as soon as possible.


Steve Mulberry
Property Manager North Devon'

The welcome document referred to is shown in an earlier post.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:28 pm

At present it is worth noting that the river is currently 1' below the accepted limit.
Presumably this was written before the recent rain, anyone know what the level is now?

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Mark Allen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:40 pm

Is there a link to the Web cam?

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Chas C » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:50 pm

Mark Allen wrote:Is there a link to the Web cam?
http://therockfordinn.co.uk/east_lyn/live.php

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Mark Allen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:56 pm

Chas C wrote:
Mark Allen wrote:Is there a link to the Web cam?
http://therockfordinn.co.uk/east_lyn/live.php
Thought there was going to be one at Watersmeet?

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by storm » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:00 pm

To low to go but looking good for next week Brendon section very tree blocked and not worth the effort at moment.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:59 pm

Watersmeet webcam:
We hope that the webcam can now be operational as soon as possible.
Although that Rockford Inn (Brendon) webcam also has useful links to cameras on the Barle, Camel, Exe, Mole, Taw, Teign & Torridge.

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by Mark R » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:15 pm

pete thorn wrote:To update, Natural England have finally assessed and found no reason to prevent canoeing.
Good stuff.

But ... on what legal basis did they feel that they might be able to prevent canoeing?
NE wrote:We still uphold a total ban on canoeing on the Hoaroak Water on Trust land.
Same question again, really - have they outlined the legal basis of this supposed 'ban'?

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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by storm » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:45 pm

Good today will go tommorow take care of tree hazerd in gourge.
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by pete thorn » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:47 pm

Because the East Lyn is a Special Area of Conservation and SSI, Natural England apparently have powers to control activity within it. An assessment can be requested by interested parties (e.g. people opposed to canoeing) for new activity, and in this case existing activity. Strange that this assessment only focused on canoeing, ignoring swimming, dogs, angling, walkers, etc.
Not sure what sanctions NE has if the assessment had been negative. Anyone know?
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Re: RIVER EAST LYN (Watersmeet to the Sea)

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:40 pm

Natural England's enforcement policy http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images ... -11871.pdf

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