GUIDE TO THE RIVER BRAY
(Leeham Ford Bridge to Newtown Bridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Bray.
WHERE IS IT?: North Devon, western rim of Exmoor. OS sheet: Landranger 180.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Launch below Leeham Ford Bridge (SS 677 399), above or below the weir as taste dictates. Egress at Brayford (SS 688 347) or three kilometres downstream at Newtown Bridge (SS 694 323).
APPROX LENGTH: 10 km.
TIME NEEDED: 3-4 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: None encountered.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: High levels should be avoided due to the tree hazard. This can still be floated for a day or two after rain has brought the river up.
4 on the gauge at the put-in weir correlates to paddleable low water.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This surprising river offers mild but continuous rapids through a hidden valley on the western fringes of Exmoor.
What you get from the start is pretty much what you get throughout; constant gradient and easy rapids through quiet and remote woodlands. This trip is almost a classic, but low branches necessitate some ducking and dodging. In February 2014, a number of recently fallen trees required portaging and a barbed wire strand required ducking. Below Brayford, the river eases in gradient but rapids continue, with only a small weir to break up the swift flow.
OTHER NOTES: There is more of the same sort of thing downstream, if so required...
The nearby River Yeo also seems worth a look.
CONTRIBUTOR: Mark Rainsley.