(Buxton to Litton Mill)

NAME OF RIVER: Wye (Derbyshire).

WHERE IS IT?: It starts in Buxton and flows to Bakewell in Derbyshire.


PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Follow the river from Buxton for about 2 Miles on the A6. Park in the car park next to the river opposite Topley Pike Quarry.

Take out- Litton Mill is a very small village at the end of a 1 1/4 Mile long private road off the B6049 just after the stone bridge. There is no public parking, Residents Only. Please DO NOT park or get changed in the village.

APPROX LENGTH: 4 1/2 Miles.

TIME NEEDED: 2 - 3 Hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: NONE! Whilst paddling it in December 2004 I was approached by a young man claiming to be the Water Bailiff, he said the land and river was owned by the Duke of Devonshire and there was a bylaw prohibiting canoeing/ kayaking. But as we were already on the water and it was not fishing season he let us carry on.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It needs recent rain, there is a water level gauge at the start of the River Buxton next to the footbridge opposite The Wye Bridge Pub. The gauge needs to be on 3 or more to run the river without scraping.

GRADING: Starts G2 with lots of G3 rapids.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Fallen trees and some narrow fast sections with no eddies. "Water Bailiff".

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: From the put in the river runs through woods for 1/2 Mile at Grade 2 till you come to a 6 Foot high sloping weir on a bend; at low levels there is no stopper (3 - 4 on the gauge, don't know about higher levels).

200 Yards after there are some cottages with a wooden footbridge over the river, a bush covered island is behind the bridge. River right gives the best headroom and view beyond the Island.

The river starts to narrow and leads to the grade 3 section in a deep wooded valley with a foot path for most of the way on your left.

Rock faced gorges creep in and out with rapids and some waves appearing every couple of hundred yards.

When you come come to a stone road bridge on the B6049 with a fishing club hut on the right bank, you can end your trip here getting out on the left bank and up the path to the bridge. This is where the private road to Litton Mill starts.

From here to the Mill it is mostly flat with a few rapids and a weir with a nice surf wave.

When you get to the Mill you need to go river left under the metal footbridge and get out on the Island to inspect the long very narrow rapid down the Mill wall and cliff face.

NOTE! The Mill has just been developed in to expensive flats the residents won't be happy bunies if paddlers trample through their gardens to inspect or portage.

OTHER NOTES: The river carries on for about 6 Miles to Ashford In The Water on the A6 near to Bakewell (Guide coming soon).

CONTRIBUTED BY: Clive Willams (Manchester CC)



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: RIVER WYE (Buxton to Litton Mill) -- Pete K
2012 Apr 09 12:53:25 PM
Kayaked the section below this today, getting on below Cressbrook and out before Ashford.

Not quite enough water today: 0.6m on Buxton & 0.43m on Ashford gauges. Upper would have been okay but this section could do with another 0.1m or I'd say at least 0.5m on the Ashford gauge.

At least 1 wire fence after Cressbrook get on. Sneak in low water (just) or portage left. Careful as it is near houses.

Gd 2 with one big weir to portage at Monsal Head. In, out and shuttled within 1h30mins. Awesome scenery!
Re: RIVER WYE (Buxton to Litton Mill) -- Pete K
2011 Nov 01 10:07:01 AM
I have been recently contacted by a member of Buxton Fly Fishers who expressed concerns about the potential to damage the river environment of the Derbyshire Wye. He has given me permission to post the emails so that the community can better understand the concerns of fishermen. I am no spokesperson for the BCU but in the absence of an adequatly functioning governing body I chose to reply myself.

I think that if we maintain an open dialog and a willingness to listen to the other users' concerns we will do more for paddler/angler relations than any VAG negotiations. I'll probably post this in a more conspicuous area of the forum as well.


Dear Pete Knight


I've noticed your comment "It could benefit from some gardening in places, which could be mostly done from the bank."

I'm a member of Buxton Fly Fishers, we have fishing rights to the river from the site of the derelict Devonshire Arms down as far as Blackwell Mill Cottages (where the wooden footbridge crosses the river). We do not remove wood from the river or prune it's banks because the aquatic invertebrate population, and consequently the native trout population, thrives where rivers contain lots of woody debris. I know the same is true downstream where the river is managed by Cressbrook & Litton FF, and then beyond by the Haddon Estate.

The Derbyshire Wye is one of the finest trout rivers in England, with arguably the best invertebrate life of any river in the UK. I hope that you will respect what we are trying to achieve.

All the best



Hi Andrew, thank you for your email.

I am only one person, I cannot speak for all paddlers or the community in general but I’d be happy to allay any concerns you may have as best I can.

I am not a fisherman myself but do understand and share your concerns over the river environment, after all, the scenery and environment is one of the main reasons a lot of people go paddling. The Wye is a wonderful paddle, provided that it is done with an appropriate water level. It is one of few Derbyshire rivers with more than just flatwater interest.

I shall clarify my statement on UK Rivers Forum for you so as to clear up any potential misunderstanding.

By 'gardening', as paddlers, we refer to the removal of river debris that would be a significant risk to a paddler's safety. An example of this would be a fallen tree hanging across the watercourse on a fast flowing section creating a deadly 'strainer' feature. It does not mean simply clearing a watercourse to increase the ease of paddling (although that does happen in appropriate places) but removing debris enough to allow a safe route through for a boat. In most cases when faced with a blockage it is usually manoeuvred to the bank where it still serves its purpose as a fish habitat - something that has successfully been done on the river Goyt recently by angling groups.

Often when faced with a blockage the simplest option for most boaters is to portage around the obstacle and then get back on the river. In some cases this is not possible (i.e. some of the gorge like sections of the Wye upstream of Millersdale) and a hazard needs removing. Regular portaging can also create erosion on the banks, something to be avoided where possible.

I fully understand that debris in the water can provide a haven for invertebrates and fish and am not advocating the removal of all river features. Some obstructions do however prevent more of a risk to life than a benefit to fish or anglers as I’m sure you understand, such as debris on rapids etc... I've not been along the Wye for some months now and the specific hazards I was referring to on the forum may have already moved naturally. The river environment is very dynamic and will change constantly, regardless of human intervention. Paddlers (for the most part) are very proactive in looking after rivers, we would rather sort issues out ourselves than have the Riparian Owner clear the blockage (EA guidance on Riparian responsibilities – Link – page 4).

I applaud the work done along stretches of the Wye to keep banks clear and the river unobstructed by angling groups and have no wish to come into conflict with any other users. As a paddler I am simply looking to enjoy the environment whilst causing as little sign of my presence as possible.

If you’d like to discuss anything further please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you

Pete Knight


Hi Pete, thank you very much for your considered reply. I would fine with you publishing my email.

I must own up that I am also the person responsible for initiating the work on the Goyt which caused you some concern last September! When I saw your post about that I tried to setup an account so that I could respond and allay your fears. I also emailed the Secretary of Manchester Canoe Club but had no response. Thankfully we (the Wild Trout Trust / the EA / Disley&New Mills AC) did get the explanation across and I'm pleased to say it was published following your post.

All the best, Andrew


Thank you Andrew,

I am not aware of anyone officially working to increase communication between anglers and paddlers in the Peak from the BCU. I feel it is up to individuals like us to forge better relationships and understanding. Coexistence on our rivers will be easier once everybody knows more about the other side's concerns. Since coming across the felling on the Goyt last year I've done a lot more research into river habitat creation and so have a greater understanding and feel I am better equipped to spot intentional or beneficial structures and those that are simply a hazard.

In the interests of keeping open communications, please feel free to contact me again if you ever have any other canoeing related concerns or queries, should I not be able to help I'll do my best to direct you to the individual who can. Also if, like the Goyt, you have any information relative to paddlers that needs disseminating through the paddling community I'd be happy to pass things on.

All the best,

Pete Knight
Re: RIVER WYE (Buxton to Litton Mill) -- Pete K
2011 Jan 13 05:05:15 PM
Ran this today from Topley Quarry car park to just above Litton Mill. Took about an hour and a half + shuttles. No problems from any locals/bailifs etc and we saw quite a few people, even a couple of artists with easels in Chee Dale.

EA gauge was about 0.50 metres and dropping when we would have been getting on. The river was a nice friendly level with a fair bit of scraping in places. The harder rapid at the end of Chee Dale was a nice grade 2+ ish I think and the section under Millers Dale Bridge 75 (abseil bridge) was a good 3. In all honesty I think you'd need more water. I'd previously stated the minimum level to be about 0.54m from the EA gauge but I'd say about 0.60m would be a better choice, however, everything ran at this level even if it was a bit rocky.

Nice surf waves in the last section before the egress at this level.

There was one manditory portage not too far from the houses after the get on where you limbo under a bridge and head round an island. This is a tree down fully across the river. The whole river has tree hazards and strainers, one of which claimed a victim today as one of our party took a swim after getting caught up. Do take care.

More people should go paddle this but be warned, it is a popular fishing river.

It could benefit from some gardening in places, which could be mostly done from the bank.

Pete Knight
Re: RIVER WYE (Buxton to Litton Mill) -- Pete K
2011 Jan 08 08:43:16 PM
Walked this route to inspect today (8th Jan 2011) and shouldn't have bothered as it now appears to have dropped too much to paddle tomorrow. Never mind, good intel anyway.

From the car park opposite Topley Quarry to Litton Mill road.

Lots of down trees and care is needed on most of the trip, there was however only one point that had to be portaged today. this may change quickly though.

The EA Gauge at Buxton showed a level of approx 0.54m at the time we were there.

I would recommend that this be the minimum level needed to paddle the river here without scraping. All the rapids and more importantly all the wiers had a paddlable line down them at this level.

We looked at it with a veiw to kayaking but if you added another 10cm of water then it would be a doable canoe trip, albe it still grade 2/3.

Hardest section appeared to be under Bridge 75 (the abseiling bridge).

Don't paddle into Litton Mill village. Get off where the road is parrallel to the river at the base of Tideswell Dale. The harder rapid at Litton Mill can only be inspected by trespassing in full view of the houses on a island. You'd also need to portage a large sluice. I would get off at above site and carry boats through the village to the far side and rejoin after the rapids. 5 mins portage, happy locals. Don't go down the right channel! This takes you into more sluce gates and under the building!

Beyond Litton Mill there are a pair of larger sloping wiers which had nice lines at this level but had collected some tree debris.

We turned back at the small water wheel by the second wier.

I will be running this as soon as it hits the right level again. Looks good to do this section and then from here to Ashford and beyond. Anyone done this and can we have a guide?
Re: RIVER WYE (Buxton to Litton Mill) -- stone056
2010 Oct 13 09:14:15 AM
I would like to this soon, what would you say would be the minimum level on the EA website that i can be paddled?


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