GUIDE TO THE RIVER LEA
NAME OF RIVER: Lea (Dobbs Weir).
WHERE IS IT?: Dobbs Weir, just outside Hoddeston (Essex). Take A10, exit at Hoddeston. From center of town, follow directions for industrial area and then pick up signs for Dobbs Weir. Park in designated site and carry boats across road toward the bridge. Look down. There.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: At the weir.
APPROX LENGTH: N/A.
TIME NEEDED: Until your playboat renders your feet useless.
ACCESS HASSLES: Sat afternoons from 13.30 seems pretty standard, but some evenings too, dependant on season from what I can gather. You need a key to open the sluice gates.
Mark Coleman, September 2005 - 'Current situation, following closure by British Waterways in Aug/Sept 2003 as the sluice gates (which we use to tune and control the nature of the feature) were deemed no longer safe to use, British Waterways have carried out an inspection of the weir and gates and estimate that the cost of repairs will be 25K. All repairs are regarded as essential to allow them to issue a licence for use, and the repairs can be made as soon as the funds are raised. That's the current issue raising 25K. I have a meeting with Lea Valley Parks (who control access to the weir) on 10 Oct 2005 to explore options. All parties are keen to permit canoeing again it's just a question of raising the money, which I am guessing with the prospect of an Olympic class WW course being built with in a stones throw is not going to make it any easier. Dobbs is a much loved, much missed and was a much used local facility - I personally have enjoyed paddling there since 1986 and have records of canoeing being permitted at the weir as far back as the early 70's. Finger crossed.'
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: N/A.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Large concrete block after wave under surface claims fingers and teeth.
Neville Tanner September 2004...'Access to the LEA NAVIGATION is via a car park just after the bridge with the traffic lights on it (can't be missed) on the right oppersite the Fish Eels public house. My son and I attended Dobbs Weir on 06/09/2004 and after a hour a warden from Lea Valley arrived. After speaking to him I have been informed that there are NO CANOES/ BOATS allowed at DOBBS WIER due to the weir being graded as VERY DANGEROUS as it is now a UNSAFE STRUCTURE and liable to collapse - Thames Water has chained the sluice gates so there is no control over the flow of water. He has also stated that a purpose built canoe run (white water) is being planned very close to Dobbs Weir to support the coming Olympics - which will be open to the public after the event is over. If I hear more I will keep you posted'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The weir can be adjusted to create a hole or a wave. At low levels only a small, unretentive hole can be made. With more water this can become a wave decent enough to handsurf, carve, spin and occasionally blunt. With more water you get an amazing wave where all the old and new school tricks are possible.
OTHER NOTES: Anyone paddled other sections of the River Lea than this playspot?