(Hillsford Bridge to Watersmeet)

NAME OF RIVER: Hoaroak Water.

WHERE IS IT?: North Exmoor. You've all seen itthe waterfall creek which joins the East Lyn at Watersmeet in a series of crunchy waterfalls. What is hidden away up there?

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: It is possible to climb down to the river at Hillsford Bridge (SS 741478). Parking is available here. You will want to walk down to Watersmeet first on the river right footpath to inspect.

Hoaroak Water ends at Watersmeet (SS 744486) where it joins the East Lyn River. There is plenty of parking on the A39 up the zigzag path, but carrying on down the East Lyn makes more sense.

APPROX LENGTH: 1 kilometre.

TIME NEEDED: One hour.

ACCESS HASSLES: Extreme discretion and care is advised in order to paddle this river without causing damage to the pristine surroundings. If you are going to attempt this, it is recommended that you pick a quiet time and minimise your presence.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Hoaroak Water can be and has been bashed down in low levels as a stunt; "Look mum, I did some waterfalls". However, it is recommended that you maintain some environmental sensitivity (and personal dignity) and wait until there is a reasonable flow after rain.

Upstream of the footbridge at Watersmeet there is a sloping waterfall which divides around a slabby rock in low water. It has been suggested that the river becomes worthwhile when this central slab is covered. High flows not recommended.


MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Low trees. Very canalised at the start. Missing the takeout bridge would almost certainly be a very bad thing.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Hoaroak consists of tight grade 4+ rapids inspersed with waterfalls. Several dangerous siphons are formed by the rock formations. Clambering around inspecting from the river could cause damage to the gorgeous surroundings; you should strongly consider inspecting the river thoroughly beforehand from the footpath.

Grade 4+ rapids commence right from Hillsford Bridge, including one nasty siphon. Things quickly become tight and steep; one chicane will stick in your mind and is probably grade 5.

After the halfway point is reached, you will encounter Pencil Falls; a four metre waterfall with a dubiously narrow lip.

The final waterfalls visible from Watersmeet are the biggest drops and are not too difficult; mind your ankles though.

Paul Robertson (2006) ... "Did this on the Horeoak the other day. Its basically a five minute walk in (left or right bank) from Watersmeet on the Lyn. Could have done with a bit more water and I wouldn't recommend it any lower. I'd say it's better to walk in for the drops in my pictures and the last two drops rather than try from further up which gets crappy with many portages. The gauge is wether the first of the drops you see on the path down to Watersmeet has a enough water to clean the hard right line.

Pictures of Hoaroak Water

OTHER NOTES: If you have water in the Hoaroak, then the following section of the East Lyn will probably be a much more worthwhile experience.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Paul Robertson.