River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Hampshire Avon drainage and eastwards, with the Nene as the northern limit
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Slime
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River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by Slime »

I and some friends canoed the river Mole last Saturday. Please be advised that a very large tree has fallen across and completely blocks the river. We think that this is at roughly GR164546 - after the weir and before the A246 road bridge.

At medium to high flows this would form a dangerous strainer for less
experienced canoeing groups.

Peter Knowles.

mike@cap
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by mike@cap »

Anybody know whether this tree is still blocking the River Mole.

Thks

Mike

fallenmike
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by fallenmike »

Hi all, first post from a noobie. Does any one know if this obstacle has been cleared?
I was hoping to paddle our Sea Eagle 380X from the Steeping stones through to Cobham next week before the river closes out for the season.
Is the river suitable for relative novices in a big inflatable?
Any advice appreciated.
Regards
Mike

Mal Grey
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by Mal Grey »

In short, Mike, no, I wouldn't say it was a good choice as a beginners river.

The dangerous tree mentioned will be gone, but every time I have done the Mole there have been several fallen trees, and sometimes the current is fast enough to mean its critical to be able to control your canoe well. Mind you, the other problem can be a lack of water!

I'd say a better choice in Surrey for newbies is the Wey.

fallenmike
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by fallenmike »

Thanks Mal. Yes I have paddled the Wey, Byfleet through to the Thames, and Tilford through to Godalming.
I might have to opt for the Wey loop then, up the Canal, then cross over for the Wey river at their near confluence.
The Sea Eagles, quite a leviathan, so pretty stable, but I'll heed your advice and get some more strokes on the clock first.
Regards
Mike

Mal Grey
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by Mal Grey »

There are quite a few good loops on the Wey, depending on how much portaging you want to do.

The Weybridge loop is indeed an excellent choice. In normal conditions there's nothing difficult, but it does help to know the way round Byfleet Weir via the hidden Mill Leat and short portage. http://www.paddlepoints.net?R=39&A=989


Up near Send and Old Woking there are numerous variations, some listed here: http://www.paddlepoints.net?R=328&A=1282

I haven't done Tilford to Godalming yet, what are the various weirs/portages like?


The thing about the Mole is that it can be fine, but every trip I've done has come up with some sort of surprise, and if there's enough water to float, there are a few places where you will be going through areas very prone to tree fall at reasonable speed. Quite often, entire bridges are blocked. Couple of blogs: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ ... light=mole and http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/ ... -in-Surrey. First was in high water. The latter was on a rare good level day, but we still had to take extreme care with two of the blockages and the current.

fallenmike
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by fallenmike »

Mal wrote,
I haven't done Tilford to Godalming yet, what are the various weirs/portages like?

It's quite an interesting paddle. I put in our big inflatable at Somerset Bridge, Elstead.
There are some natural hazards like trees fallen across the river which involves some getting out and pushing/pulling. I never found any dangerous trees, well least.ways none attacked me.
There are some man made hazards like trees FELLED across the river which require the same tactics.
Additionally, paddling seems to be discouraged by the use of timber baulks, and scaffold poles driven into the river bed spanning half the rivers width so as to catch the bottom of any craft, so a watchful eye on the passage ahead is required.
The use of this section seems to be ambiguous, with land owners jealously guarding their hereditary fiefdoms for the lucrative fishing benefits such river banks bring with them.
The environmental agency were quite keen for me to file a report of my findings when I asked about the legitimacy of the above practice.
The jury appears to be still out as to whether this is a navigable section of river or not.
Certainly in previous centuries the monks from Waverley Abbey upstream from this point were sure of their right to the water course, using it to transport fleeces into Godalming.
Once at Godalming there's a quite low bridge to duck under, and one weir that requires a very short portage, then clear paddling all the way to Cattleshall Lane, where there's an easy get out, and a pint if that's your poison.
Thanks for links and advice.
Regards
Mike

JohnMcF
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Re: River Mole, Surrey - DANGEROUS TREE

Post by JohnMcF »

From the Stepping Stones by Box Hill to the Running Horse at Leatherhead.

Sunday 22.3.2020 (The day prior to the great COVID19 UK lockdown).
I have been intending to take this trip for some time as it is right on my doorstep. However the opportunities to paddle this stretch are few and far between the height of the river has to be just right; too low and its un-navigable, too high and its very dangerous. A good guide to the level is at the commencement of the paddle at the stepping stones, ideally the river level should be around 6-12 centimetres below the top of the stones.
Throughout this paddle the river has very steep banks which vary between 1.5 - 4 metres high, when the river is high the speed of the current is very quick and almost impossible to deal with. The main danger is caused by the many large fallen trees in the river, many of these span almost the complete river and one actually blocks the river entirely and has to dealt with by way of portage. These trees can all be easily dealt with when the river is at a moderate height and speed, but in high water would easily trap even an experienced whitewater paddler.
There is one weir which needs to be portaged, the portage is not too difficult and requires a small walk of about 50 yards to the first downstream access point.
Anyway to our trip, the sun was shining, the river level was perfect and this was likely to be the last day for some time that we would be allowed an adventure, three of us took to the water in two open top kayaks,a single and a double which proved perfect for the trip. The paddle took just over 2 hours at a fairly gentle pace, there is no whitewater apart from the odd fairly gentle ripple. There was plenty of wildlife, multiple herons, ducks and plenty of other birds to see, the wildlife highlight was a playful otter, which appeared totally untroubled by our presence. We passed a few bemused locals, this river is seldom paddled and there were plenty of friendly waves and greetings.
On the outskirts of Leatherhead the river splits at an old bridge, take the RIGHT channel, this brings you to the Running Horse pub by the old town bridge, exit from the river is easy at this point and there is plenty of parking. I can recommend the pub for a beer and a lunch, sadly on this particular day it was closed due to the current COVID19 situation.
Hopefully the world will get back on an even keel soon and life can go back to some sort of normality, with the minimum loss of live and we can all enjoy many more enjoyable days on the water.

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