GUIDE TO THE RIVER DOVE
(JCB Academy to Marchington Lane End)
NAME OF RIVER: Dove
WHERE IS IT?: Staffordshire, Tutbury near Burton-on-Trent.
PUT-IN'S/TAKE-OUT'S: Access: Tutbury Bridge (SK2142629508)
Egress: Newton Solney - village green by the River Trent (SK2142629508) great parking here right by the river, please be considerate where you park as residents live close by and regularly use the area for walking picnics etc. Drive down Trent Lane, until you can see the River Trent on your left - find discreet parking of which there is lots - we parked River Right before the houses. Great access to and from the River - good picnic spot - and good place to also paddle a section of the Trent.
APPROX LENGTH: Approx 10km
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours
ACCESS HASSLES: British Canoing's stated policy of 365-day agreements unless proven environmental reasons prevent paddling.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Should paddle in low flows, just two weirs to shoot/portage.
GRADING: Grades 1 and 2 - with x2 weirs
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Just after Dove Bridge EA gauge weir - typical V-notch arrangement with more water in the centre. Should make fun but bouncy wave to shoot, inspect first, new fish pass river right, which has mesh walkway etc, so easy to egress and inspect on this side.
Weir at Dove Cliff Hotel, lots of overgrowths here below the weir. May should in higher flows, we portaged (river left), a bit of jungle here below the weir but we managed to find our way, very pick and mix. In medium or high flows probably shootable river left.
Trent and Mersey Canal crossing! - Dove goes under the canal - its a mini aqueduct. In low flows pick a tunnel and go for it. In Medium flows or above avoid like the plague! The danger zone starts as you pass under the A38 highway, stay river right - there is maybe 100m or less between the highway and the canal aqueduct. In medium flows or above the multiple (maybe 10) small tunnels under the canal (approx 1.5mx1.5m) will be completely full and underwater or too little headroom to pass.
Don't worry - if you stay river right - there is a shallow ramp - which will allow safe egress, in high flows. In medium flows egress anywhere river right - after the A38 and walk the few meters to the shallow ramp and up to the canal. Cross the canal and put in again on the downstream side of the canal.
Railway bridge - in low to medium flows you will pass under this no problem, but in high flows, you will need to duck head rooms gets minimal. Slightly more room to the river right. Be cautious as you approach - stay well upstream until you are sure or have inspected - we inspected with some ferry gliding and eddy out techniques. If impassable - which is unlikely, paddle back upstream to the canal and head West on the Canal to Clay Mills (SK2630826685). On the Southside of the canal is a Green lane, which has a canal overflow on it, paddle or walks with your boats along the overflow. This stream (unverified - but probably runs in high flows) goes under the railway (SK2686326540) and rejoins the Dove. If still impassable at the railway to your right about 50m South West there is a PROW over the railway line (SK2683026497) - cross and rejoin the over-flow stream back into the Dove.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Meandering and easy with small rapids from time to time - good paddle for low flows and to avoid the canal and railway complications noted above.
The river continues to gently meander towards Newton Solney. After Dove Bridge keep alert for the EA gauge weir and fish pass - see notes above, but most will enjoy shooting this but the wave is pretty big and river feels wide here- so advise inspection. River feels very remote and rural here - until you approach Dove Cliff Hotel, which looks quite dramatic from the river after all the countryside. Be careful passing the weir and expect overgrowth/islands below. This only lasts a short while, before river returns to normal gentle self. Next feature to be aware of is a large whirlpool, just upstream of the A38 pumping station, nothing difficult just a bit of a shock as river changes character here - biggest issue here was the low hanging tree branches.
Next, you enter into the A38 road bridge, get ready to egress river right if needed. Or as we did in low flows we stopped on the gravel island in the middle of the river, inspected the channels, and paddled under the canal aqueduct.
The river continues to gently meander, towards the railway bridge - again see notes above if paddling in high flows. After the railway bridge its plain sailing right out to the Trent. Newton Soleny is ever so slightly upstream of the Dove, but this is an easy ferry glide even for the novice and well worth the effort.
OTHER NOTES: Next section is Doveridge or Marchington Lane end to Tutbury Bridge.