GUIDE TO SPURLSWOOD BECK
NAME OF RIVER: Spurlswood Beck.
WHERE IS IT?: North East England, between the River Tees and the River Wear. Spurlswood Beck flows through Hamsterly Forest, it joins Euden Beck to form Bedburn Beck which is a tributary of the River Wear.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Follow the road and track through Hamsterly Forest as far West as you can. A bridge over the beck adjacent to a ford marks the middle of the beck and the main point of interest, a 12 foot fall named Black Ling Hole (NZ053275). Access to the upper section is on foot from this point, walk up as far as seems worthwhile (NZ045269, or thereabouts?). The take out as far to the East of the Forest as you wish, a car park and picnic centre make a convenient point about 3/4 mile down stream from the fall (NZ067298).
APPROX LENGTH: One and a half miles, or just a single fall.
TIME NEEDED: Variable, depending what bits you do.
ACCESS HASSLES: Not known/doesn't seem to be a problem
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: A lot of rain is needed to do the whole beck, judge for yourself as you drive through the Forrest. The fall can be done at almost any level.
Mark Stafford adds ... If you can float above the bridge it is worth doing however the fall can be paddled at any level.
GRADING: In full spate G3, plus an easy 12 foot fall.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Very narrow, tree hazards, one 12 foot fall.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: In full spate interest is provided by the narrow twisty fast flowing tree lined nature of the beck with few other hazards than the 12 foot fall. Black Ling Hole waterfall is located directly under the track bridge, easy to miss from the car. A small step just before the very low bridge leads directly into the fall. Follow the main flow and the plunge pool is deep, however it is shallow at the sides.
OTHER NOTES: Not a highly recommended trip, there are far better things to do in the area if the water is up. The fall itself is fun but easy, not really worth the effort and probably not "paddled" before 31/5/00. I guess the rest of the beck has not been paddled either. I have only surveyed it. Has anyone done this trip or know of anyone who has?
Not a first descent Bob! Alan Coates, who now lives beside the river...(April '01) 'I paddled this beck in 1965.'
Mark Stafford, Army Canoe Union adds...'I paddled the beck 19/12/00. It was at a medium level and the fall was fun (good for photos) we walked about 3/4 of a mile up-stream and paddled down to the fall. It was very shallow and a bit of a scrape. I could imagine that in full flow it would be interesting, however it would be more suited for a family picnic in the summer rather than a day out paddling, I do recommend paddling this fall if in the area but don't go out your way to paddle it.'
Jim Pullen 10/08/09 ...'edited guide to change to the correct name (Spurlswood not Euden Beck), on the map there's also another named fall called Greenless Hole about 500m downstream from the fall, but as it's not mentioned above I guess it's not noteworthy. Has anyone paddled Euden Beck or Bedburn Beck down to the Wear confluence?'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Bob Evans, Alan Coates and Mark Stafford.