GUIDE TO THE RIVER GOYT
(Brabyns Park to MCC site)
NAME OF RIVER: Goyt.
WHERE IS IT?: The Goyt runs from the Errwood and Fernilee reservoirs, north of Buxton, to Stockport where it joins the Tame to form the Mersey. It is also fed by the Etherow, which flows from the Woodhead reservoirs.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Plenty of options, see below.
APPROX LENGTH: The run from below the horseshoe weir to the club site is around 2.5 km...
TIME NEEDED: ... and takes about an hour, allowing time to stop and play here and there, less if you just wallop down of course.
ACCESS HASSLES: No problem at Brabyns Park, where there is also adequate car parking space - this gives you access above the sloping weir, between the two, or below the horseshoe according to taste /skill /river level. To use the MCC club site, contact someone from the club (website link below).
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: All the reservoirs tend to have a stabilising effect on the river level, so it does not rise and fall as fast as some rivers.
GRADING: It can vary between being a fairly placid and rocky river (grade 2), with long flat sections between weirs and rapids, and fast flowing with many potential hazards (grade 3+) after heavy rain.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Weirs.
"dccp" (Dec 07)...'There is a sloping weir at SJ 9412 8988 half a mile below the slalom course at Manchester Canoe Club. The weir has been badly eroded. The height remains as it was but the sloping face has become a vertical drop into something very nasty looking. The erosion is in two places: river left from the bank for about two metres and from the centre towards river right most of the way to the bank.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The river can be paddled from New Mills, or Whalley Bridge when in spate, but only by experienced paddlers - see separate guide.
The river is more often paddled from Brabyn's Park, SJ 9637 8978, Marple Bridge, to the MCC site, SJ 951 900. The first sloping weir has three shoots separated by walls. If water is starting to flow over the side shoots of the sloping weir, the stopper in the centre becomes harder to paddle through and the safest way is to scrape down the sides. As water levels increase further the stoppers at the side also become progressively more difficult. At high levels this weir can become highly dangerous with vicious stoppers and tow-back. The next obstacle is the horseshoe weir a few hundred yards down stream, SJ 9635 9000. The water at the bottom of this weir has unpleasant boils even at lowish levels, and becomes dangerous as the level rises - the boils become even worse and a stopper starts to form, trapping much in the way of debris. There has been a fatality at this weir in high water in the past.
If in any doubt, miss both weirs. By putting in below the horseshoe weir, you can still have an enjoyable paddle. While at lower levels the paddle from here is mostly a rock dodge, as levels rise the rapids improve, but overhanging tree branches, fallen trees across the river and floating debris can become serious hazards. The best rapid is probably 'looping rapid' a couple of hundred yards above the club site. It is often worth paddling up from the site to play there, although you will probably have to portage around the fall at the top of the site.
Beyond our site the river continues with similar character until reaching another weir in about half a mile. This weir can sometimes be shot on the left, but take care as it can be dangerous in spate. The river can be followed to Stockport, but be careful of the weirs. In particular the vertical weir at Otterspool by the A627, SJ 9365 8950, is dangerous and must be portaged. If you should ever lose a boat in the Goyt in spate conditions, it is worth checking this weir to see if it is trapped in the stopper.
OTHER NOTES: It has become progressively cleaner over the past few years, and now is a very clean river, as can be seen from the popularity of the fishing.
Matt adds (19/2/01)...'We paddle the Goyt with novice groups regularly - good paddle, dirty water.
Just thought I would send an addition for a trip - to use the canal from Marple swimming pool to the Aqueduct over the river. Portage the tunnel (unless you feel like some adventure...). From the nearside of the aqueduct there is a footpath down the near embankment to the riverside. The River then doubles back on itself. Paddle down through the MCC site, down the weir and get out at Otterspool. The DANGER weir is immediately below the get out. DO NOT PASS THROUGH BRIDGE; get out is river right through the dry arch of the bridge but upstream of the bridge. In very high water this arch could get flooded through (I have never seen it) and into the weir.
It is then a 500m walk back to the start. We usually do the shuttle at the start and the driver can walk back up and meet the group at Church Street bridge (alternative get in) on the canal after they have had a warm up and short paddle. This is a great beginner's trip because of the flat water at the start before you hit the river and because of the really easy and short shuttle.'
John Romiley (Summer 2002)...'It says in the guide that the dry arch at the get out (Otterspool bridge) is rarely flooded. I know of at least 10 times this year when it has been flooded!'
CONTRIBUTED BY: Dave Bradshaw, also Matt and Mary McGee Wood (Manchester canoe Club), taken from http://www.manchestercc.dabsol.co.uk/rivers.html. Also, Mark Davies. Grid refs added & content for upper section moved to that guide by Chris Bolton.