GUIDE TO MOOR BROOK
NAME OF RIVER: Moor Brook.
WHERE IS IT?: North Dartmoor, on the open moor near Okehampton. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Drive up on to the moor from Okehampton, going past the MOD's Okehampton Camp. Once on the moor turn right immediately after the camp & you're driving up the river left bank. If it's wet enough you'll be able to see the river. We drove up to the ford at SX 5867 9203 and paddled down to the road bridge at SX 5917 9311 (near the gate/cattle grid at the entrance to the moor).
Looking at the map, there appears to be a potential alternative get in and get out. There's a ford further up the moor near West Mill Tor at SX 5915 9127. Lower down on the bridleway to Lower Halstock (SX 5994 9363), the river itself continues into Halstock Wood to meet the East Okement, but I think trees may inhibit you past that point.
APPROX LENGTH: 1.5 km - but you could probably double that by starting higher and continuing lower (height loss: 50m).
TIME NEEDED: Half an hour?
ACCESS HASSLES: Unlikely to be a problem, but watch out for red flags: it's on the edge of an MOD training area. You pass through a gate on the way to the put in, I don't know if this ever gets locked.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: You need lots of water & recently. A good option when the East Okement is too high. The East Okement was on 0.78 when we got on. You can scout the whole run on the drive up, if you'll float it's good to go. When we did this the water was just lapping the bottom of the take out bridge.
GRADING: A giggle inducing grade 2, going to grade 3 near the end.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The road bridge where we took out would need portaging if you were continuing. There was an eddy river right directly above it.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A fast flowing spate run on open moor. At the start you're paddling off squelching tufts of grass, but there's always a deep channel and the fast current keeps you moving quickly. Probably harder than the grade suggests - there's one line and if you fail to keep your boat in line you're going to get broached.
At which point everyone else will land on you as there aren't any eddies. It's a small river channel, barely wide enough to spin a boat and meanders around with a gentle gradient, with no significant drops. Gorse bushes encroach occasionally, but not unavoidably. There are a few bouldery rapids near the end but nothing difficult.
OTHER NOTES: You're likely to scare sheep unaccustomed to kayakers. Take your sense of humour with you.
Has anyone paddled more of this brook?
CONTRIBUTED BY: David Webster and Conrad Dowding.