GUIDE TO THE RIVER DOVE
(Mayfield to JCB Academy)
NAME OF RIVER: Dove
WHERE IS IT?: Staffordshire, Rocester near Alton Towers.
PUT-IN'S/TAKE-OUT'S: Put-in Mayfield (SK157455) follow PROW directly opposite a pretty house in the cliff. Walk a short distance below the weir and enter into an old mill tailrace channel that quickly rejoins the main river. Take-out: Norbury road bridge (SK119423) for 6km trip. Best egress is river right just below road bridge, natural beach, and eddy it looks like it is regularly used by dog walkers - join PROW to road. If challenged continue downstream for 200m and egress directly onto to PROW river right and walk back to the road - there is no law against taking your kayak for a walk. For 10km continue to JCB Academy road bridge (SK116391) egress river left just below road bridge onto PROW. There is a suitable car park if you cross the bridge right-hand side of the road, towards the academy.
APPROX LENGTH: 6km or 10km
TIME NEEDED: 2-3 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: British Canoing's stated policy of 365-day agreements unless proven environmental reasons prevent paddling.
I am sure some will object.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Unknown.
GRADING: Grades 1 and 2 - with weirs
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: x4 Weirs and x2 sets of old bridge support's from former railway upstream of Norbury about 500m apart. Hydro intake screens at Norbury and JCB weir. JCB Academy weir has a concrete lump river wide at its toe. At some levels, this creates a super play wave at others it could be a bump. If your boat is very flat with no rocker, portage possible either side of the river. River right is hydro intake channel and large sluice. Beware this sluice can fall at any time - avoid going under which just goes to dead-end channel in the Secondary School. There is a fish pass also that returns the river just before the sluice, its a sharp left-hand turn, but it's a tight turn for a longboat - easy for a kayak.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Meandering and easy with the occasional weir. Small rapids from time to time.
All weirs should and can be inspected.
Beautiful start in Mayfield. The first, weir is only a short distance from the put-in at a sharp left-hand bend. This weir is long and shallow angled, but it has a small vertical toe, so at low levels expect a little drop.
A couple of easy rapids as you meander around the old factory river right.
The second weir near Sides Lane, will normally shoot river right, but look for tree hazards which are numerous along and below the weir.
Norbury weir has a fish pass now with a bend in it, with an inspection to checks it is clear and some skill it is possible to shoot this in the kayak or open canoe. There is a fish friendly hydro river right at Norbury weir also. Be aware of getting drawn against the intake screen when approaching river right. If in doubt it is possible to egress onto the island between weir fish pass and hydro and portage straight down this island.
Some nice easy rapids below Norbury weir with the National Trust House Norbury Hall river left.
Egress possible at Norbury Bridge or continue downstream. Beautiful touring until JCB Academy weir, marked by an old steel bridge, that could be a former railway bridge. Shortly after this is a shallow angled weir and river right a hydro intake channel with a large sluice and a fish pass channel to bypass the weir.
Minor riffles just below the weir, then you pass under Norbury road Bridge, egress here is possible.
River now gently meanders towards JCB Academy signaled by an overhead steel bridge that looks like a very old railway bridge/viaduct section. JCB Academy weir has a low. small discrete concrete lump river wide at its toe. At some levels, this creates a super play wave at others it could be a bump. If your boat is very flat with no rocker, portage possible either side of the river. River right is hydro intake channel and large sluice. Beware this sluice can fall at any time - avoid going under which just goes to dead-end channel in the Secondary School. There is a fish pass also that returns the river just before the sluice, its a sharp left-hand turn, but it's a tight turn for a longboat - easy for a kayak.
Egress at downstream of JCB road bridge, river left onto PROW, fast-flowing riffle rapid just upstream of the bridge.
OTHER NOTES: Next section is JCB Academy to Marchington Lane end.