GUIDE TO THE RIVER NORTH TEIGN
(Footbridge to North and South Teign Confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: North Teign.
WHERE IS IT?: North Dartmoor. It is the larger tributary of the Teign.PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: If you like suffering, start on the section above.
This section starts at a footbridge hidden from the road. From Chagford, follow the road up the south side of the valley from Chagford. At a sharp lefthand bend in the road (the last before the road ends) a footpath leads steeply downhill to the footbridge, GR 671875. Parking possibilities are limited. The carry is no longer than 400 metres.
The takeout is at Chagford Bridge, GR 694879 after you have continued down the Teign for a short distance. Leave the river directly downstream of the bridge on river left; this is a public footpath. There is a good layby here for parking.
APPROX LENGTH: 3.5 kilometres, including the section on the Teign.
TIME NEEDED: Two hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: No access problems have been reported on this section of river but you do pass through the grounds of some very exclusive looking property. Discretion is advised so that no offence is caused.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This will be paddleable for around twelve hours after heavy rain. The North Teign has Dartmoor's second largest catchment after the Dart itself. Spate conditions would make for full-on continuous grade 5after you Sir, I insist.
Gauge: Directly downstream of Chagford Bridge are several rounded boulders close to the bank on river right. These should be nearly or completely covered for a non-scrapey trip. Note that the steep and flashy catchment means that something totally different may be happening up the valley!
GRADING: Grade 4+, continuous 5 in high water.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Steep, hard paddling. A weir.
Jon Fitzsimmons (22/1/02) ...'Thought I'd add a bit to the North Teign description, I paddled it yesterday and it was bloody great, but there is now a river wide strainer just after the weir. Best to break out straight after the weir to avoid a frantic dash for the one eddy before you eat tree.'
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Steep creeking around and over large boulders and natural ledges with few opportunities to stop and reflect. This section is reminiscent of the upper Plym. The lower half of this section is a bouncy grade 3 jaunt which may be worth considering by itself.
The first thing that anybody completing tree-strewn section upstream of this that will notice, is that the tree blocks vanish once the footbridge is reached. Presumably this section is managed and cleared.
The first kilometre drops fifty metres, don't expect a warm-up! The river is effectively walled in by dense woodland and rhododendron bushes so inspection or portage is awkward. The paddling is frantic with back to back drops, slides and slots. This is creek boat territory with some shallow landings and tight manoeuvring to prevent complacency.
A vertical weir pops up as a reminder that you'll shortly be entering civilisation. It seems safe enough and below this, the gradient begins to ease. The banks open out and you pass the immaculate grounds of the Gidleigh Park Hotel.
Shortly after you reach a submerged set of stepping stones (GR 683878) where a footpath leads up to the river right road. It is possible to stop here, but not recommended.
OTHER NOTES: "Tell the others what happens to me" - quote Simon Westgarth, disappearing over a blind horizon line.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Jon Fitzsimmons.
Water was all gone from overnight rain so will need to be quick, it may be difficult to catch at right level as it looked dangerous low with pins and syphons, yet too high and would be continuous grade 5 dodging branches.
There is only one big tree just after the weir. This section is alot more friendly.