GUIDE TO THE RIVER DERWENT
(Malton to Stamford Bridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Derwent
WHERE IS IT?: North Yorkshire (use os maps 100 105) Easily accessible from York by good roads.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: At Old Malton (SE 800726) next to the Abbey there is ample parking and a short carry via public path onto the river.
Low Hutton (cramped): Possible barbed wire
Kirkham: Easy and uses public path on left bank
Howsham bridge: roadside parking.
Stamford Bridge: The best place is below the bridge on left bank which joins a recreational area (SE 711555).
APPROX LENGTH: 27km
TIME NEEDED: Best done over two days camping on river. Best place for a wild camp where no one will bother you is Howsham wood at the lower end using the corner of field next to the wood (SE 744638).
ACCESS HASSLES: This was the subject of a court battle in 1991 regarding the application of Rights of Way Act 1932 to public rights of navigation (PRN). Shockingly, canoeists lost (but are generally tolerated). While the court decided that there was no PRN under that Act, the judgement say nothing about whether a PRN might exist for other reasons. The nearer you get to York the more fishermen use it. Ask which side of the river to paddle and I've not encountered problems.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The river is clear in low water but is always deep. You can paddle this river and most of its tributary's in the driest of conditions.
GRADING: Largely flatwater paddling in deep water. Perhaps grade I around Crambeck where it becomes a little shallow.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Higher up you may encounter fallen trees right across the river.
Two weirs, the one at Howsham can be shot using open canoes using the narrow sluice in the centre (at least it could be when I lived there in the 1980's) and Buttercrambe weir. They can easily be inspected and/or portaged if needed.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river is largely hemmed in by banks but goes through a pleasantly wooded section below Low Hutton and past some attractive villages. A quite, undisturbed paddle. Nice clear water is useful if you are into fish watching and otters are present.
OTHER NOTES: This is an excellent river for trouble free overnight trips. The tributaries have all been canoed by me, The Rye from Helmsley and Costa Beck from various places. It is also possible to start on the Derwent from much higher up nearer Scarborough but the river flows through agricultural land hemmed in by banks and not particularly interesting from a canoeist's perspective.
CONTRIBUTED BY: David Perry.