NAME OF RIVER: Bollihope Burn

WHERE IS IT?: Trib of the Wear flowing from Bollihope Common to the Wear just below Frosterley.


Access - cross the bridge over the Wear at Frosterley, follow the road up and over the hill and back down to a bridge over the river by some quarries.  Start here (NZ 006 350).  Alternatively take the first left after you’ve crossed the Wear and start at the farm at White Kirkley if you only really want to do the main drop (NZ 026 360) .  Should be possible to paddle all the way down to the Wear (NZ 039 368), but it flows through a big working quarry.  I got out at the main falls and walked back up. There's a footpath round the top of the quarry which would allow you to carry round it and put back on from a small road/track bridge below to allow for continuing down the Wear.

APPROX LENGTH:  About 4km if you use the suggested put-in and make it to the Wear. 3km if finishing before the falls.

TIME NEEDED:  About an hour, more if portaging/running the falls.

ACCESS HASSLES:  None known.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Some water to stop it being a scrape, but maybe not too much for the main drop at the end.  Should be going if the Upper Wear is. 

GRADING:  2+ (5)

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS:  The final fall going into the quarry is a long and complicated grade 5, there also seems to be some sort of small flexible water abstraction pipe running along it to get tangled in! Trees and fences will also be an issue.


‘Adventurous’ grade 2, with one harder rapid.  Fences, trees, tiny eddies and a multi-tier rapid/fall to finish.

Starts out open then closes in to a steeper wooded valley, continuous easy rapids throughout with regular fences and trees to keep things interesting.  The main rapid is as the river drops into the big quarry just after the footbridge marked Wise-Eel Bridge on the OS map.  This definitely needs to be looked at and consists of several back to back ledge drops in a gorge with a tight right angle slot to finish.  Note the sign on the bridge with a helpful diagram showing all the caves the water flows through under the drops!


The falls still haven’t been paddled as far as I know!

I've seen this running with enough water for a higher up put on to be possible at NY 986 352 from the road between Egglestone and Stanhope (Eggleston Burn was running high at the time). This would give another 2km of similar style paddling. I've also seen enough water coming down Howden Burn to give a steep extra km of pretty continuous grade 3 above the suggested put-in with a walk-in. Anyone tried these? - Jim.

Other nearby tribs of the Wear may be worth it if this is up, such as Stanhope and Middlehope Burns - anyone paddled these?


Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: Bollihope Burn -- Rory W
2013 Aug 07 07:45:39 PM
Ran this again in very high water on Monday night. Absolutely terrifying with multiple fence and tree portages that are very hard to spot at this time of year because of all the trees that hang over the river and block your view all the way down.

I still didn't run the bottom gorge - It definitely goes and actually looks like a great rapid at these levels, but there is a tree branch growing right across the (very sticky) top hole. This should be much less of a problem come winter and the tree that was wedged in the 2nd drop now seems to be gone. I will be going back!

Well worth a look for someone who thinks they are likely to paddle the (definitely class 5) bottom gorge. Really not worth the paddle if you just want grade 2/3 - just too many fences. And don't do it in the summer!
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