What's wrong with the SW?

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Mark R
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:01 pm

There was some discussion of and interesting film of the West Okement above the reservoir, a few years back - did anyone ever go and paddle it?

Likewise the East Dart above Postbridge - I know various folk have asked about it (and I've walked it in low water myself) - has anyone actually paddled it?

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:07 pm

Someone suggested to me that the Barle doesn't reach grade 3 in the section from Withypool, directly upstream of Tarr Steps. Anyone care to comment? I haven't paddled it in over a decade...

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by AlexN » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:44 pm

I paddled the Barle from Withypool twice around two years ago. My memory is that there was nothing on it any harder than on the Tarr Steps section. i.e. Grade 2. There is public parking and good launching on river right upstream of the road bridge. I assumed that the cable above Tarr Steps was to catch tree flotsam to prevent it damaging the Steps. At the level I paddled it the cable was not a problem as it was attached fairly high up on the bank so by sticking close to the river left bank you pass underneath it. I think that redds might be an issue on this section and at low levels there are gravel beds visible from the bridge at the get on.

I also paddled Simonsbath down around the same time and the Guide is accurate. I didn't count the sheep fences but it seemed that there were loads of them. You can usually work out in advance when one is coming up as you see fences on both banks converging across the Moor towards the river.

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks Alex, that's really helpful.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Dixon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:24 am

The section of River Teign North South confluence to A382 could do with extra info on. The put in is hard to find but is just in front of the gate to Gidleigh Park Hotel which would be dead easy to find. As well as the grid reference this info would be worth adding. We got in at Chagford bridge by mistake, that section tbh is not worth the bother and flat paddling. We will have another go at it in next few weeks.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by AS Watersports » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:51 am

Pretty sure Tom Bailey and a few others paddled the West Okement. He has been there twice thats for sure.
Here is his video of it:
I will ask him about it. I think he has photos.
I walked the North Teign this summer from the put in foot bridge down to the weir above Gidleigh Park. Lots of trees and wood. At least 5 portages.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Dixon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:10 am

The North Teign may have flushed out with recent rain, might take a look soon out of curiosity, which side of river did you walk Ewart? The lower section will have to be paddled as its all private land, planning that very soon, low to medium levels 1st just in case of trees. 1st impressions looks good with a bit of water in it.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by AS Watersports » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:29 am

Hi Mark,

I walked river left, got down to river level and scrambled around the bank mostly. There is a path but its quite high up and you can't really see much. Jim, Roger and I paddled from the Stone bridge that is up on the open moorland a few years ago (I think about 2005) when it was spilling into the field. Full of trees and a portage fest. Might be different now. With that level of water (big and brown) it was pretty full on. Low to medium levels its going to be very chossey and a bit hard work. Needs good water. Then its more demanding than a 3rd arch Upper I reckon. A pic of it very low from the summer. Image

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Dixon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:23 pm

Thanks Ewart, a 3rd Arch Upper is a bit beyond me at the moment, you never know in the future though, Sam's keen but theres a lot of other rivers for him 1st. Have you paddled the section below? If its anything like the Lower Teign it will need water, I am a bit dubious about meeting trees on rarely paddled sections of river so will try for a lower level trip 1st before blasting down it. I imagine similar to Middle Tavy??
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:52 pm

AS Watersports wrote:Pretty sure Tom Bailey and a few others paddled the West Okement. He has been there twice thats for sure.
Here is his video of it:
I will ask him about it. I think he has photos.
Many thanks, will look forward to it.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by AS Watersports » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:12 pm

Mark (Dixon) Yeah paddled all the way to Chagford Bridge that day. It mellows out after Gidleigh park and the confluence with the South fork. Not done the bit between Chagford Bridge and Dogmarsh Bridge. Don't think there's much there. Dogmarsh to Fingle is what you did the other day?

Found Jims blog from the trip. 2006 http://3rider.blogspot.co.uk/2006/11/up ... -hype.html


I've got some other pics on a hard drive some where. Will dig them out for the guide.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Dixon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:34 pm

Jims Blog sounds awsome Ewart! Thanks

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by morsey » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:48 pm

AS Watersports wrote:Not done the bit between Chagford Bridge and Dogmarsh Bridge.
We went down there once to see if it's worth extending the upper (it's not), just a couple of little weirs, and some barbed wire, that we removed!

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Allen » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:23 pm

South Fork be looked at?

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Dixon » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:36 pm

Mark Allen wrote:South Fork be looked at?
Looking up from the confluence the South Teign looked like a ditch full of trees as far as I could see, it didnt look very wide or deep so not sure how much water would come down it safely.

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:39 pm

Mark Allen wrote:South Fork be looked at?
I'll pass by at some point, but suspect it's a dry ditch. I was told once that it had seen descents, but it was probably one of those 'I know someone who knows someone who...' kind of things.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Allen » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:02 pm

How far up the Taw have you/people explored?

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Mark Allen wrote:How far up the Taw have you/people explored?
About a kilometre above the road head. It was pleasant enough up there, but soon drops into tree Hell.

I doubt there is much further up - the river flows without gradient through a bog for a few km above that, then you're pretty much at the source. Always happy to be proved wrong, though.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Allen » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:49 pm

Steeperton Gorge to my knolege has not been done yet,bit of a walk but looks good to go

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:51 pm

I just changed the wording for the upper Plym gauge section...

Look at the rapids beside the car park below Cadover Bridge. If it is possible to paddle around or among the boulders, the river is a rather bumpy grade 4+. If most of these boulders are covered, then the river is at an optimum grade 5 level. If the Plym is filling or spilling the banks, then the Plym will be absolutely relentless, maybe grade 5+.

Sound about right?
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:58 pm

Mark Allen wrote:Steeperton Gorge to my knolege has not been done yet,bit of a walk but looks good to go
I walked along this once, on a north>south 30 mile crossing of Dartmoor (we made a fair number of diversions to look at ditches)

It really is a ditch up there, but never say never...

http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=38372036
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark Allen » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:10 pm

Mark R wrote:
Mark Allen wrote:Steeperton Gorge to my knolege has not been done yet,bit of a walk but looks good to go
I walked along this once, on a north>south 30 mile crossing of Dartmoor (we made a fair number of diversions to look at ditches)

It really is a ditch up there, but never say never...

http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?I=38372036

Ive been up there several times and it defo goes, but it narrow, steep and would be over in about 90 seconds!! The walk in would take 1+hour each way.

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by jam bo » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:21 pm

I walked the upper upper walkham a few months back. If you could be bothered to walk in, it'd be paddleable from quite a way further up than merrivale quarry.

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... am#p653709

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by JohnV » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:06 pm

I paddled the Cherrybrook in July 2008 from Higher Cherrybrook bridge on into the West Dart. It was a spate day on the moor- we did the Upper Upper Plym prior to the Cherrybrook and decided against the Upper Plym and Upper Dart at those levels. The Cherrybrook was a kilometre or so of meandering flat moving water, some straightforward rapids and then a steeper more significant rapid at Smith Hill Farm. Having been asked not to paddle by a warden type chap at Higher Cherrybrook bridge for whatever reason, we decided to portage this rapid as it flows through the nice grounds of the farm. From memory there may have been a fence to portage at the top of the rapid and some low rhododendron bushes to avoid. I seem to remember that it looked like it would go but would need inspecting by climbing the fence around the property which we were reluctant to do. Worth having a look at if levels are high- the West Dart was a blast.

Photo of the Upper Upper Plym that day: http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... _674_n.jpg

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:19 pm

Thanks John, that's helpful. Looks like you picked the right day...
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:53 pm

Ten years ago on the Walkham there were some nasty loops of barbed wire hanging from a bridge (and almost barring passage), just upstream of Horrabridge.

Anyone been there more recently?

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:10 am

Thorverton Weir on the Exe...did it partially collapse a few years back, or am I imagining/ misremembering that? If it did collapse, how does it look now?

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Robbie C » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:32 pm

Thorverton Weir got partly washed away around the time of the last two Exe Descents. Sorry no photos.
Shame really, as the first of the big wiers it really focused the mind after the long windy flat section from Bickleigh Bridge & the fish steps were fun!
Haven't paddled it since so it must have changed alot since then? Cheers

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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:58 pm

Just re-written the gauge info for the Erme. Does this sound about right?

Look at the ledge falls in the centre of Ivybridge. The degree of ‘scrapey-ness’ here will give you an indication of what the whole trip above will be like. If the top rocky ledge is covered, the trip is on (grade 4). If the central rock on the last fall above the bridge is covered, the river is bank-full and there will be limited eddies (grade 4+)...perhaps not ideal for a first run down. If the ledge falls are washing out, walk away...upstream is too small a river for so much water.
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Re: What's wrong with the SW?

Post by Mark R » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:01 pm

StoneWeasel wrote:I'll dig out my guidebook and have a look as I seem to recall there was something slightly off on the Fowey guide but I can't remember what off hand.
Remembered yet, Denzil?

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