(Rothbury to Anglers Arms)


WHERE IS IT?: Northumberland, Rothbury.

PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS: Put in: at the Rothbury main car park by the river, next to the footbridge NU 05701 01527.   

Take out: River right just below the road bridge NZ 13828 98515. Please note that Penny Swaine, notes that egress and launching from here has been a long tradition. However, very recently (Feb 2024) a "Private" sign was placed across the obvious access gate - however, the gate was not padlocked as yet. 

It is also possible to egress before the bridge, river right, onto a Public Right of Way (PROW) NZ 13733 98376. Or closer to the bridge if you can see a spot.

There is good parking on the non-Anglers Arm side of the bridge. Do call in the pub for some grub. If your planning to use the pub parking consider asking permission first. Otherwise there is plenty of legal spaces around the area. Have a thought for the locals, park with empathy!

Further downstream, river left below the main road A697 there is another PROW, it may be possible to egress here (untested). 


TIME NEEDED: 2 - 4 hours depending on flow.

ACCESS HASSLES: Reverend Douglas John Morris Caffyn has written one of the most helpful pieces on Access and the current Law and it can be seen here . Go to the section 'Boats on our rivers again', open the pdf and see in particular Chapters 9 & 10. As I understand it, any non powered boat (canoe, inflatable, dinghy etc) can go along any part of a river which is navigable (eg. normally has sufficient level of water)..

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: If the height given at Rothbury is more than 0.6 low / 0.9 medium/  1.1 high.

GRADING: 2/3 (4). 

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Thrum Mill weir/reef - at 0.9m it was possible to egress the river right onto the reef and inspect. At higher flows, greater than 1m, I would advise taking a look via the PROW on the mill side of the river before starting a trip to ensure inspection or portage is feasible with your group. This is a natural reef, with a manmade top, which results in a steep weir, bolted onto an "Aysgarth Falls" type reef and drop set up. The first drop is very grabby, but a determined attempt is likely to blast through, especially if you go river left (obscured by overhanging trees and lack of space). The weir drops you straight into the reef section, the main flow is river right, but an exit river right leads you to an aggressive stopper, that will swamp everybody except the likes of Sam Ellis! Best avoided, however, the river left line will take some determination, and the ideal exit drop is the difficult spot from the top. The drop is chunky river left also. there is a further feature below, also, that seems benign but can easily flip an unwary boater. I would advise setting up a safety plan first and having people ready to pick up the pieces.  

Susceptible to fallen trees throughout the length of the trip. In Feb 2024 there was at least one tree blockage but it was easily avoided by going river left. Be alert. 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Steady going for 1km (warm up), then Thrum Mill weir/falls. This is an exciting 50m section of rapids with two big stoppers and a narrow constriction to finish. See Hazards above for more details.  

After this the rapids become much wider and more shallow. The river then meanders its way gently across the flood plain becoming technically easier all the time. 

Next up Pauperhaugh Bridge, the foundation/apron of the bridge has a weir-like slope. Any arch will run, some surfing can be had here. 

Occasional Small rapids now lead to Brinkburn Priory; here there is a 1m fall, with some great surf waves to follow below, eddy river left large enough for a group to sit and admire the Priory. The rapids continue for about 100m gradually diminishing as you go. Steady flow of water there after. 

Next up Weldon Mill weir (Anglers Arms) weir. Inspection advised, but river right there is a noticeable dip in the crest about 3m wide, which creates a flushy wave train below, the weir face is a bouncy ride. Keep away from the trees!


OTHER NOTES: Consider starting from Thropton, Hepple or Alwinton for a longer trip or go downstream.