GUIDE TO THE RIVER TEME
(Tenbury Wells to Broadwas)
NAME OF RIVER: Teme.
WHERE IS IT?:England, West Midlands. Map.
Tenbury: ramp down to river just below bridge, right bank. Parking nearby in Tenbury (pay display).
Eastham bridge (5 miles): steep bank from fishermens car park, left bank 50 yards below bridge. They now have aggressive notices forbidding parking there.
Stanford bridge (another 5.5 miles): easy access into field (footpath) or rather steeper directly into the car park on left bank shortly before old bridge (the first bridge). Permission from pub was granted when I asked.
Ham bridge (4.5 miles): left bank above bridge (apparently preferred to below bridge). Lay-by nearby on Worcester side of bridge left bank.
Knightwick (5 miles): easy egress left bank immediately after new bridge (the second bridge) 20 yards before weir; very easy access just below new weir. Steps and style to road, lay-by 100 yards towards Worcester. Excellent pub 250 yards.
Broadwas (7.5 miles): scramble up left bank 100 yards before bridge, or go closer and use the steps at the measuring station but they could be tricky unless the river is at the right height. Lay-by 100 yards towards Worcester, pub 200 yards towards Hereford. There is a rather uncomfortable looking weir immediately below the bridge. Below Broadwas I gather access is more problematical and disputed.
APPROX LENGTH: 30 miles.
TIME NEEDED: Unknown.
ACCESS HASSLES: Canoeists say the Teme is an ancient navigation, and anglers seem to think it is their exclusive river, and get quite stroppy.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Water is critical in summer you ground all the time, and in flood it rises 10 or 15 feet. The Environment Agency notional summer level equates to level 5 on the markers at Knightwick (by the weir just below the new road bridge) and at Bransford (100 yards upstream from the bridge, left bank).
Levels are broadcast on Hereford and Worcester Radio (104, 104.6, 98.6 MHz and 738 Medium wave) at 6.30 am every day, and are on the Environment Agency river level line: 0906 619 77 44, and press 5 when prompted. (The message mispronounces Teme, so that it sounds the same as the Thame in Oxfordshire potential for confusion).
In fact for most of the summer the level is well below this notional level, but it comes up (and goes down again) quite quickly after rain. Notional summer level is really the minimum level for a comfortable trip 10 or 20 cm above is better. However the kayakers tell me that the weir at Knightwick is unsafe above level 5 (as the sides are vertical). And apparently its boring below 3.5.
I have not tried the river in flood the current is fast across the whole width of the river, and large trees come down and regularly block the bridges. Not my cup of tea.
GRADING: Grade 1 water with weirs.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There are two broken weirs, one at Eardiston Mill, one about a mile above Knightwick, and lots of micro-rapids natural rock shelves. Most are very straightforward, but some involve turning and one catches people out from time to time. The main hazard is overhanging and fallen trees, often on or by the micro-rapids. So not a river for absolute beginners.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Teme makes a pleasant if unexciting tour for about 30 miles downstream from Tenbury. The banks are high, so there are virtually no views, but its a pleasant wooded run, with a certain amount of wildlife to watch and frequent mini rapids to stop you falling asleep.
The best bit is from Ham bridge to Knightwick, where there are no roads. But along all of it, though youre often quite close to the main road you are usually completely unaware of it. In fact it can be quite difficult to work out where you are, even if you know the area really well.
OTHER NOTES: Wildlife - Apart from the expected there are dippers and sand martins to be seen. There are otters, but Ive never seen one, and there are probably mink, too.
There is a bit more excitement on the Teme near Ludlow.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Paul Lack, June 2004.