(Bickleigh Bridge to Plym Bridge)


WHERE IS IT?: South Devon, on the outskirts of Plymouth. Map. OS sheet: Landranger 201.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Launch from Bickleigh Bridge (SX 529618) where parking is limted, or better still, paddle the more challenging section above first.

Finish at Plym Bridge (SX 524587). Note that whilst it isn’t possible to drive across the bridge, you can drive shuttle on either bank and there are car parks on both sides.

APPROX LENGTH: 3.5 kilometres.

TIME NEEDED: 1 hours.


WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is paddleable at a fairly low level, some days after rain. However, it is best when the sections of the Plym upstream are paddleable. 

It should be easy to judge whether there is enough water to paddle. However, water should be flowing through at least three arches at Plym Bridge for a scrape-free run.



GENERAL DESCRIPTION:  The Plym has lost most of its energy as it approaches the sea, but there are still plenty of easy rapids. The valley is particularly attractive, rather surprising given that you are practically in Plymouth.

Leaving Bickleigh Bridge behind, the Plym winds between small crags with intermittent rapids. There is little sign of civilisation, although the surrounding woodland occasionally permits glimpses of overgrown industrial ruins.

The Plym pools up behind a weir with three chutes, safe to run at most levels. Inspect from the path which follows the river closely on river right throughout. After the weir the river is flat for a while; in spring 2013 a huge tree had barred the whole river requiring a simple portage. A second weir should cause few problems unless the river is particularly high.

The final kilometre sees the riverbanks close in; bouncy waves carry you beneath a viaduct and down towards Plym Bridge. The chutes underneath the bridge form a good spot to learn or practice basic whitewater skills. When you’ve finished playing here, climb out up the bank on river right.

OTHER NOTES: A lovely wind-down.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Plym - Shaugh Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge -- jmmoxon
2017 Dec 14 09:37:50 PM
The old track down to river at Bickleigh now has this sign on it:

Re: River Plym - Shaugh Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge -- Mark R
2014 Jan 01 11:00:25 PM
He was wrong. End of.
Re: River Plym - Shaugh Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge -- EddR
2013 Dec 31 09:17:16 PM
A quick heads up as I don't know if this happens a lot or not. While looking at the Lower Plym today we had a gentleman explain to us that we couldn't paddle the section as the river and all the land surrounding it was private despite there being national trust land above and a clearly marked footpath off the river before Bickleigh Bridge as in the guidebook I believe. Though, we didn't get on in the end partly as we were worried about trees but mostly because it was 3:40 pm.
Re: River Plym - Shaugh Bridge to Bickleigh Bridge -- Conrad Dowding
2012 Nov 26 10:26:54 AM
Paddled this 25/11/2012 at 0.8 on the Carnwood gauge. River was a nice medium level, no river wide trees, the only point of concern is just after a sharp left hand bend at the end of the first rapid where the river starts to slacken off. You can see a big pile of trees dead ahead, but the river bends right and if you stay right you'll stay clear of them. If you do go left there is a tree at the bottom of a small slide you could get sent into.

Lower Plym (trees and friendly fisher folk) -- Will.S.
2012 Jul 02 07:45:05 PM
Just to mention there are a few river wide trees on the Lower.

One was in the grade 3/4 part at the top. Approx 300m after the start.

Had a great level today. Big and bouncy - Lucky for us the level permitted a boof over said tree. Could be a significant obstruction with less water though.

Fishermen were casting in the pools just before the get out. All very amicable.

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