River Bray (Leeham Ford Bridge to Newtown Bridge)

The Somerset Frome and Dorset Stour and westwards
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Mark R
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River Bray (Leeham Ford Bridge to Newtown Bridge)

Post by Mark R »

Last edited by Mark R on Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Mark Rainsley

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Re: River Bray (Leeham Ford Bridge to Newtown Bridge)

Post by jmmoxon »

0.4 on the Leeham Ford Bridge gauge equates to about 0.6 on the Newtown Bridge one (EA online) - provided the levels are holding steady (which was happening today, but isn't actually that likely!)

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Re: River Bray (Leeham Ford Bridge to Newtown Bridge)

Post by andy g »

We ran the Bray on Sunday, so an update on the current picture.

After a quick inspection on Saturday when the Leeham Ford Bridge gauge was 6 and rising, we got on Sunday morning with the gauge at 4.8 (the river was probably falling after peaking much higher overnight) This was plenty of water and the narrow river was very quick, we did not encounter many rocks, just multiple other hazards. We took 3h 20m with a small experienced group of 4.

Mark's description is very accurate, this is indeed a delightful grade 2/2+/3- river with pretty continuous rapids in very attractive countryside, but the hazards are considerable so you need a experienced small group to paddle it safely.

On the descent there were 2 strands of barbed wire, the first comes up mid rapid and is very difficult to see from above. Luckily after a warning from our leader we were prepared and all able to duck under. The second is more obvious, one of group exited and held the wire up for us to pass through.

Secondly there were 2 river-wide stock fences which required a portage, one very low bridge required limbo dancing skills and so many trees that necessitated staying on line and ducking to get through safely.

Lastly there were 4 trees which presented an unacceptable risk to passage and we opted to portage. One of which comes up around a bend and requires a very quick stop above.

There are enough eddies above the hazards for a small group , 4 would be a maximum, and the river leader does require considerable scouting skills.

The locals in Brayford seemed very friendly as we changed in the bus shelter to escape the driving rain.

Yes a great "alternative" river to the Barle, at this level it was G2+ , but with G4 hazards.

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