Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Hampshire Avon drainage and eastwards, with the Nene as the northern limit
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Yellow boat
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Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by Yellow boat » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:42 pm

Just got back from a nice if wet paddle down the river Mole from Brockham to the Stepping Stones.
There are a number of trees down completely blocking the river.
The first is under the foot bridge at the bowling green get in. Portage right or left.
The second is a short way below the Brockham road bridge, you can push thought the thin branches river right.
The third is right on top of Pixham/Dorking weir, no way to shoot the weir. Portage river right, the banks are steep and very muddy. The right hand channel out of the weir pool is also blocked but the left is clear.
The fourth is by the sports fields below Pixholm Court. Portage river left.
All these blockages are easily seen from upstream.
Enjoy your paddling and be safe.

Paul

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by DuncanOH » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:08 pm

A few months ago I paddled the Mole in spate, the Sunday before Christmas, from Stepping Stones to Cobham. There were quite a few bridges stuffed with trees that look passable from river level but on inspection are pretty nasty, I have a couple of pictures of what it looked like at high but none from in spate (it got worse, which is about all you need to know).

Also, the Song of the Paddle website misses out a load of bridges that have to be portaged when the river is high. Infact given how shallow it is in places I can't imagine how you'd ever be able to get an open boat down it and be able to pass under those bridges.

Fortunately most of the bridges are visible from upstream - there's only one which is just after Leatherhead but before the Mole passes under the M25, which I only noticed with less than 10m to go, and the river had narrowed so the current was faster.
It's a disused bridge for farm vehicles. Most of the wood is rotted but the steel girders remain. I managed to bail into a sort-of-eddy behind a flooded bush to portage.

Also at high levels the Downside Mill weir becomes fairly dangerous. It looks like a kayak would just pass underneath, although I didn't run the stopper as I was by myself and it looked a little munchy.
The dangerous thing is that 30m upstream of the weir the water spills to the right - enough was running down it to make it look like G3 bimble but I couldn't see where it was going, which looked ridiculously dangerous.
Also at normal levels you can eddy our just above the weir on river left, however at high levels it spills over into the old mill machinery. I'd describe it as a man-made siphon into the underbelly of the building via the mills paddle-wheel. So portage river left 20m above the weir is an absolute must. The left-hand river bank at this point is man-made so there isn't really an eddy line but it is very easy to grab onto the side and swing yourself out.

Either way I've got a few pictures and a Google map showing the hazards and medium and high levels. I'm swamped with work right now but I'll post them up when I've got some free time.

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by Mal Grey » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:52 pm

Thanks for the info chaps. I've paddled the Mole a few times in an open, always a great day out.

There is not normally a problem with bridge height if the water level is less than the top of the green on the EA gauges, but it is very much a river with potential dangers in any flow deep enough to make it viable. There are always a few blockages of some sort, quite often in the fastest bits. Its definitely one to treat with respect.

I don't recognise your description of the old farm bridge between Leatherhead and the M25, I wonder if it is in the other channel to that I've done where the river splits. Or it was simply above our heads and we didn't notice. That is the fastest part of the river in my experience, at the same time as being the most overgrown.

There was a big tree down at Downside Mill last time we did it, I take it this has gone? The EA never confirmed after I reported it, though they did say it would be removed.

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by DuncanOH » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:00 am

It wasn't really much of a bridge to be honest, more like a couple of low-level girders with planks over the top of it. I can't remember a split, but it was flooded in places and no clear channel, though now I look at the map I think I took the left-hand channel near the recycling plant. It should show up on Google maps satellite here.

There was no tree in Downside Mill weir when I looked at it - see the pic. But that may be because the tree was covered.

This bridge was one of the one which looked passable from the river but the left hand channel looked fairly manky up close, see the picture here.

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by Mal Grey » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:45 pm

DuncanOH wrote:It wasn't really much of a bridge to be honest, more like a couple of low-level girders with planks over the top of it. I can't remember a split, but it was flooded in places and no clear channel, though now I look at the map I think I took the left-hand channel near the recycling plant. It should show up on Google maps satellite here.

There was no tree in Downside Mill weir when I looked at it - see the pic. But that may be because the tree was covered.

This bridge was one of the one which looked passable from the river but the left hand channel looked fairly manky up close, see the picture here.

Hah, I've obviously gone under that bridge several times, just never noticed it! Your levels were definitely higher than I've done it.

The at Downside tree was massive, so it wouldn't have been covered - it was a whole mature old tree. It fell from the left bank, with its crown in the right hand weir sluice...

That bridge had a fair bit the first time I did it, but was clear on the left. Our worst other issues were a farm bridge early on with a massive pile of debris (fortunately in slow flow so we could clamber over it) and the main bridge in Leatherhead where we had to ferry across to reach a clear arch, fortunately the island upstream provided fairly slow water for this.

Love the Mole, will be watching the levels with interest over the next few weeks...it would be perfect today! But back to empty no doubt soon.

For anyone interested in the Mole, there's some more info on Paddle Points: http://www.paddlepoints.net?R=71&A=613. Includes a couple of links to blogs showing more blockages!

Thanks for the info.

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:06 pm

I can't believe there is no guide to the Mole on this site! Could someone contribute a guide for this site please.
Mark Gawler

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Re: Trees - River Mole Surrey 16/03/13

Post by Green.media » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:08 pm

how big are these tree's? might be able to take them out (im aware off the massive oak about half way down) think we can forget that one! but might be able to tidy up or take tree's out if agreed by the EA

if anyone has piccys of them can you PM them to me and will put a case together to put to the EA

Cheers
Rich

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