GUIDE TO THE RIVER DERWENT
(Kexby to Wheldrake Ings)
NAME OF RIVER: Derwent
WHERE IS IT?: E and SE of York through farmland. After Elvington banks offer frequent breaks from any westerly/easterly winds. See here for Google Maps entry for our open canoe routes.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Kexby (SE705512, Multimap) - is possibly a potential put-in and it looks like you should be able to leave your car within 50 yards of the water (although we've never actually do it ourselves). However, it is a slightly awkward entry as there is normally quite a step down into the boat and the banks are sandy and loose.
Elvington (SE705478) - is a very straightforward put-in and, again, within 50 yards of where you can leave your car.
Weldrake Ings (SE695445) - again easy nearby parking but with a slightly interesting entry. Carry over the bridge that forms the very end of the mapped road. Get down off the side of the bridge just where it meets the fence (mind the barbed wire) and then carefully down the bank for a slightly awkward put-in. We've only done this as a take-out so good luck to all who try it! :-)
APPROX LENGTH: Kexby to Elvington = 2.8 miles, Elvington to Wheldrake Ings = 2.7 miles.
TIME NEEDED: Kexby to Elvington = 40 mins (we were attempting to move quickly), Elvington to Wheldrake Ings = about an hour (bit vague).
ACCESS HASSLES: British Waterways throughout so no access problems (that we're aware of).
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Sorry. No idea. Will keep eyes peeled next time we're out. We've paddled when the level at Elvington was such that the gunwales were level with the bank.
GRADING: Grade 1. Just an easy river paddle.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Lots of sweepers but easily negotiated. AVOID weir with sluice gates immediately the bridge/put-in at Elvington. Instead, just before on the right is entrance to a lock. Take-out immediately before the lock for an easy portage over to pool below weir for put-in.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: North of Elvington the river is generally very slow moving as it is controlled by the sluice weir + locks at Elvington. Below this the river has a much better flow and makes for an easy journey downriver.
OTHER NOTES: We've yet to do the section between Stamford Bridge and Kexby but will update when we have.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Nick Rorke Sarah. (We're beginners at open canoeing so please bear this in mind whilst reading this description!)
There was one access question, at Elvington lock. I met the gentleman from the house on the island when passing through - his position is that there is no way to access the lock from the upstream side without passing over his land (this was not apparent, at least to me, from the water).
He was perfectly polite about it, and said that he will give permission, provided people knock on his door & ask first (he even gave a hand lifting out & carrying the kayak, which is kind of unusual for someone informing you that you're on their land).
However, he did also say that he'd been trying to get in touch with the local access officer for a while now, but hadn't had a response.
This was one of my very few trips on non-salty water ... I understand the BCU are no longer doing access agreements, but are access officers still negotiating this kind of thing? Does anyone know any more about the situation there?
(Reply by PM if it's more appropriate).