(Darfield to Confluence with the River Don)


WHERE IS IT?: South Yorkshire.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: See below.

Run could be completed at Conisbrough, but advisable to continue on River Don to Sprotbrough, for safer parking. River Don is a BWB navigation. BCU stickers or BWB licence required.


TIME NEEDED: Darfield to Sprotbrough - 4 hours including lunch stop.

ACCESS HASSLES: Right of Access not known, but no experience of access being disputed. The fishermen encountered were friendly. Please keep it that way by being polite, quiet and only using the p access points listed.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The river is prone to flash flooding, due to rapid runoff upstream after heavy rain, but similarly falls back to normal level quickly. Above Bolton-on-Dearne may be very shallow in summer. Water was 600mm below fishing platform upsteam of Darfield Bridge when these notes were recorded.
Advise inspecting the two larger weirs before starting if river in spate.

There are various online EA gauges for the Dearne. Does anyone have any calibrations for these?

GRADING: Mostly Grade 1 or flat, but includes weirs, mostly very small , but some larger ones which require inspection.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Overhanging trees above Bolton-upon-Dearne. Abandoned cars. Three potentially dangerous weirs.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Section above Darfield to be added - for information contact BCU River Advisor.

Between Darfield and A6195 it is a narrow natural river with minor rapids, though some may be the remnants of small weirs. Lower the river widens at it picks up tributaries and flow is controlled by weirs, though maintained a reasonable current of 3-5km/h.

Much of the valley was occupied by major coal steel industries and the river heavily polluted. These have nearly all gone and most of the land restored so the river again passes though very pleasant countryside with many wetland nature reserves alongside and the river now cleaner and able to support fish. On one section a number of side channels have been dug and rock weirs built in the mainstream to promote fish stocks.

Banks on the top section are high and steep, becoming lower where flood banks are set back for the rivers edge.

RIVER NOTES: All distances are in km, starting at Darfield - When I have paddled the upper section I will adjust these.

Co-ordinates were established using GPS and are full 12 figure. To convert to usual 6 figure reference delete first digit from eastings northings (4,4 = SE, 4,3 = SK) and round to 2 blocks of 3 digits. eg 442071,404585 converts to SE 421046. Though full references are to 1metre, GPS used has accuracy of +/-10metres.

To print a map of the location go to and enter one of the sets of GPS co-ordinates.

0.0km Darfield Bridge A635 - 442071,404585
Access at sw side of bridge from public park. Parking on road in front of Bridge Inn. Access difficult due to sloping concrete. Alternative access upstream of bridge, but right of entry not known.
Below is a series of grade 1 rapids and river is shallow in normal flow.
0.8km Footbridge - 441971,403831
No Access
0.9km Streams joins from right
1.6km Marle's Road Bridge - 441971,403831
No Access, rapid under bridge.
2.0km A6195 Bridge - 442369,403047
New bypass. Emergency Egress only, as parking not permitted.
2.9km Two very small broken weirs.
3.4km New Rock weir - 443431,402274
Rock weir impassable in normal flow. Use bypass channel.
3.5km - 443571,402169
500mm vertical drop weir.
Moderate stopper, shootable at any position, but check as stopper is full width of river and could be dangerous in higher water levels.
Railway Bridge with weir below.
Sloping concrete weir, drop approx 1 metre.
In normal level water flows through two arches with most through left arch. Channel below weir bends right with tall wall. Large stopper at Left end reducing towards right. Position to shoot will depend upon level. At time of paddling abandoned car in centre of channel immediately below.
All open canoes shipped water. Can be portaged right, but exit would be difficult in spate.
INSPECTION ESSENTIAL - land right bank to walk through dry arch.
4.0km - Flood Control Gate - 444100,402183
Vertical steel gate, lifted well clear of river. May be redundant but would be extremely dangerous if part closed.
Footbridge Immediately downstream. No access.
4.4km - Channel joins from right.
Outlet from nature reserve. Do not enter.
4.7km - Bolton-Wath Road Bridge - 444764,401987
Access on upstream side of bridge.
5.7km - Channel splits into two
Main channel left but right probably passable. Re-joins above railway bridge.
5.8km - Bolton - Mexborough Road Bridge - 445702,402127
Access left bank above bridge.
5.9km Railway Bridge
Small weir 300mm under bridge. Small stopper.
Good access on right immediately below bridge, but not suitable place to leave vehicles.
7.7km Adwick Road Bridge - 445702,402127
New bridleway bridge and road bridge.
Access below bridge - good place for lunch.
8.0km Modern Gauging Weir
Sloping concrete face approx 1 metre drop with strong stopper. In normal flow side sections dry so ends of stopper open. Touring Open Canoes swamped by stopper. Can be portaged.
8.7km Harlington Footbridge - 448421,401826
Emergency access available from Harlington.
9.6km Very small weir
9.7km Pastures Road - 449772,400732
New bridleway bridge and road bridge. Access right bank upstream, but not easy due to high bank.
11.4km Modern Footbridge - 450400,400241
Trans Pennine Trail through Earth Centre - No Access.
11.7km Confluence With River Don - 450315,399976
No Access.

For Egress continue downstream (turn left) on River Don.

- approx 1.5km look for old lock wall on right. Vehicle Access, but not advisable to leave vehicles.
- 5km. Sprotbrough. 453756,401510

Parking left bank of navigation channel upstream of bridge.

OTHER NOTES: OS Landranger Map: 111 Pathfinder Map SE40/50

Obstructions to the river should be reported to the Environment Agency.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Tim Wheeler. Tim is the Chairman of the Midlands Group of the Canoe-Camping Club. See