GUIDE TO THE RIVER WALKHAM

(Bedford Bridge to Tavy Confluence)

NAME OF RIVER: Walkham.

WHERE IS IT?: It flows from high on Dartmoor to join the Tavy below Tavistock.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: There is a nice warmup section above this. This section starts at Bedford Bridge, GR 504704.

Takeout is at Denham Bridge on the Tavy, which this trip ends upon. Take a look at the map.

APPROX LENGTH: 4 km, plus a final 3 km on the Tavy.

TIME NEEDED: About two hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: 

Chris Fawcett...'We accessed at Bedford Bridge (parked by the toilets away from the road) no problem. Egressed at Denham Bridge (parked in Forestry car park which is accessed down a track on your LHS after crossing Denham Bridge no problem. Encountered "angry man" on footbridge where the Tavy joins the Walkham marked on the os map as "Double Waters" shouting that we should not be canoeing the river and wanted our names. We acknowledged him and politely carried on. No other problems encountered. If you can float a boat at Bedford Bridge the river can be paddled although low. We paddled on Sunday 19th January 2003 after a night of rain.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: We paddled after a night of rain and had enough water to float comfortably from the launch point; medium-low conditions. This was plenty for the sections downstream.

Dave Surman paddled the river in spate and described enjoyable bouncy grade 3 conditions.

GRADING: This trip starts at grade 1-2. The final 2 kms are nearly continuous Grade 3-, with a single grade 3+ rapid. There is also one significant grade 3 rapid on the Tavy.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: There is a sticky weir on the Tavy.

Mike Moxon (Jan 2004)...'Just a note to warn about a tree - this one is at the bottom of the first grade 3 bit on the Lower Walkham, it is immediately below the small step (descibed as 1m high, but nearer a foot) it is obvious, but not from the start of the rapid, and impossible to avoid at decent flows - it would be quite easy to remove the top branch, but then the rest would be potentially more dangerous as it would be hidden just below the surface - anyone fancy some major tree surgery?'

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Below Bedford Bridge, occasional grade 2 rapids keep interest going. The scenery is pleasant; a wooded valley with little evidence of civilisation.

After you pass under a bridge with helpful 'NO SWIMMING' signs all around, the river changes dramatically. It steepens over a series of small ledges and forms a long grade 3- rapid which finishes with a sharp 1 metre drop. Collect your wits, as there are now mostly continuous rapids between here and the Tavy; this is a remarkable section of water at the grade. The river narrows and is confined by bedrock banks, forming numerous eddies along the banks; indeed this section is excellent for a small group learning to 'eddyhop' down a river.

The only slightly tricky bit is near the end, where the valley opens out with fields on either side. Much of the river disappears down an unconvincing looking slot leading into a twisty rapid. This will make a few people practice their roll!

The river now leads down to the Tavy which has more entertainment awaiting...

OTHER NOTES: The section above this is nice. The upper sections of the Walkham are somewhat harder and possible in heavy rain.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Chris Fawcett and Mike Moxon.

 

 

Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Walkham - Bedford bridge to Tavy Confluence -- superman
2015 Nov 30 03:57:21 PM
Also worth noting that if continuing onto the Lower Tavy the large weir that was removed a couple of years ago has been rebuilt and looks particularly manky and unpleasantly done.
Re: River Walkham - Bedford bridge to Tavy Confluence -- moorpaddler
2015 Nov 30 02:06:26 PM
Ran the Walkham on Saturday 28 November. Level was 0.41m on Horrabridge guage, which was a bit scrappy but paddleable.



Couple of hazards of note:
  1. River wide tree down just after high cycle/foot bridge (SX4953 7050). River flow is slow enough for a leisurely on water inspection and can be ducked under at this level. At a much higher level and you may want to get out at the bridge and portage as there are few eddies and not an easy exit to bank between the bridge and tree.

    http://i63.tinypic.com/66xefq.jpg[/img]http://i64.tinypic.com/28hpxtc.jpg[/img]http://i66.tinypic.com/335fdqu.jpg[/img]


  2. Not far after this river flows to the right around a tree/shallow bank and as a result has eroded the bank on the river right. This has resulted in a barbed wire fence now dangling over the main river flow. It can be avoided by positioning yourself to paddle away from it, but with less experienced paddlers you may wish to portage. Note, the photo is looking back up river (flow is from top right of this photo down to bank on left)

    http://i68.tinypic.com/2yttbvp.jpg[/img]


Otherwise trees are down in a few places but no others are blocking whole river and all easily negotiated. Also worth nothing, blockage noted in previous posting has now been cleared.
Re: River Walkham - Bedford bridge to Tavy Confluence -- paddle_like_krazy
2014 Nov 13 08:13:31 PM
Large blockage across the river below the cycle/foot bridge SX4953 7050 - portage at all levels, although in high levels there is a sneak rout on river left.

[img]
Re: River Walkham - Bedford bridge to Tavy Confluence -- Zool
2014 Oct 23 08:48:19 PM
Just Paddled the Walkham, about 200m down the river from Bedford bridge there is a tree blocking the river, if levels are low you might be able to squeeze past on the left (and i mean squeeze).

The river is also still totally blocked at Magpie bridge (also known as Gem bridge), no exit right due to barbed wire, easy portage left.

The weir on the Tavy (Dentist Weir) has totally collapsed, there are a lot of obsticals in the water including metal bars. The EA are working there and it should be clear in the next few days, portage left if not clear.
Re: River Walkham - Bedford bridge to Tavy Confluence -- jam bo
2013 Nov 13 09:26:38 PM
The tree in the slot is the one that was blocking river wide upstream for ages.



It looks well lodged and will take some effort to shift.
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