GUIDE TO OARE WATER
(Oareford Bridge to Badgworthy Water confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: Oare Water.
Map.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: The road along the Oare valley is rough and narrow, not minibus and trailer territory!
Launch just upstream of the bridge in Oareford (SS 813464) where there is limited parking, do not obstruct the business of the farm here.
It is possible to egress at a footbridge just above the confluence with Badgworthy Water (SS 794479), however carrying on down the East Lyn as far as Brendon is recommended, making for 7 kilometres of grade 3.
APPROX LENGTH: 4 kilometres.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: No problems reported.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Only possible after heavy rain. Could be dangerous in full spate due to a low wire near the end.
The river needs to be floatable and flowing well at Oareford Bridge. The East Lyn will be at, or rising towards, around 2 on the Environment Agency East Lyn gauge.
GRADING: Grade 3.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Low trees. Portage (see below).
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Oare Water is formed by the merging of Chalk Water and Weir Water at Oareford.
From Robber’s Bridge (500 metres upstream), Weir Water flows through an intriguing tight gorge. The massive sheep fence blocking the entire gorge at one point is however off-putting.
Below Oareford, the river is pleasantly lively, with bedrock features forming small grade 2 and 3 rapids and drops. The most notable rapid comes early on, a mini-waterfall into a boily stopper.
Around halfway, there is an irritating interlude; a tree jam is closely followed by a sheep fence and a few more low trees. The best solution is to portage it all in one go using the field river right. It’s only a hundred metres or so, but involves crossing a fence that might or might not be electrified...
Below the road bridge at Oare, the river widens and becomes less technical. It’s now just an easy bounce down to the confluence with Badgworthy Water, but watch out for a single wire strand across the river, which could be dangerous in very high water.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.