GUIDE TO THE RIVER ERME
(Ivybridge to Ermington)
NAME OF RIVER: Erme.
WHERE IS IT?: South Devon. OS sheet: Landranger 202 – Torbay and South Dartmoor Area.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Launch below the weir next to Ivybridge Leisure Centre (SX 635560). Take out on river right, just upstream of the A3121 bridge at Ermington (SX 640531).
APPROX LENGTH: 4 km.
TIME NEEDED: 1 hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: Not known.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: The section of the Erme down to Ivybridge needs to be at a medium or high paddleable flow, i.e. directly after rain. No rocks should be uncovered in the river downstream of the weir.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: None.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Below Ivybridge, the Erme still has gradient left over from its descent off Dartmoor, enough to offer continuous rapids for this whole section.
This trip starts unpromisingly; although rapids come thick and fast, the canalised banks leaving Ivybridge and the tunnel beneath the A38 are uninspiring. However, the surroundings soon green up and the Erme transforms into an attractive free-flowing river with natural rapids, including bedrock drops and channels; there is a close similarity to the River Tavy below Tavistock. As with that section of river, there are lots of well-defined river features and eddies which make this a good classroom for coaching.
The only flat water comes upstream of the bridge in Lower Keaton, where a sloping weir holds back the current.
The only other weir comes shortly before the takeout, a tiny affair creating a riverwide surf wave.
OTHER NOTES: If you continue downstream, there is 2 km of flat water until the Erme becomes tidal at a weir, shortly after Sequer’s Bridge (SX 632519). The Erme estuary is 5km long and extremely attractive; Ivybridge to Erme Mouth could make an excellent open boat expedition.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.