GUIDE TO THE RIVER SWINCOMBE
(Bridge at GR 642725 to West Dart confluence)
NAME OF RIVER: River Swincombe.
The Swincombe is reached at a bridge (GR 642725). It is possible to walk another kilometre up to a dam, but the section above is mostly flat.
APPROX LENGTH: 3 km.
TIME NEEDED: Under an hour.
ACCESS HASSLES: This is a wild paddle that is rarely possible; a group venturing out in the lousy weather required are unlikely to meet anybody, let alone objections.
Update ... a group enjoying this river were assaulted(!) by a local landowner in 2007 - proceed with caution and report any harassment to the police.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This is only possible in spate. The West Dart should be out of its banks.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees and bushes encroach somewhat.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A novelty trip high on the moor which offers an alternative start to the West Dart.
From the start, you are propelled down a narrow tunnel of bushes. The water is bouncy but the main difficulty is staying clear of the bushes. The river flows under or ideally, over a small footbridge (take care) and just below is a road bridge near some houses. After the bridge, the bushes are supplemented by a few low hanging trees and the river drops over several steep drops before entering the West Dart.
There aren't any eddies, so the ability to break out is unnecessary.
OTHER NOTES: The Swincombe flows into the West Dart; at these levels this wil be excellent bouncy grade 3+ down to Dartmeet.
Mark Quest ... (2007) 'I ran this this weekend when the Dart was well up. We put on at a place called 'Whiteworks' GR 615 711 nearr princetown. Its a tiny stream, called the Strane, to start, but then gives you a nice Grade 3+ section before the weir. Do not be tempted to run the weir on river right as the metal plates in it chopped the end off my mates boat! Followed by a nice long walk out for him. The Swincombe lower down was a bit of a strainerfest and not much cop, but the upper bit was nice.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Mark Quest.