GUIDE TO THE RIVER WEST LYN
(Barbrook to Lynbridge)
NAME OF RIVER: Lyn.
WHERE IS IT?: The River West Lyn is one of two channels which drop steeply from northern Exmoor into the Bristol Channel at Lynmouth. It joins the regularly paddled East Lyn shortly before reaching the sea.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Access at Barbrook where you will have to climb down to the very canalised river.
This section finishes at a pub a mile downstream where there is a footbridge across the river.
APPROX LENGTH: 1 mile.
TIME NEEDED: 20-30 minutes.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This rises very fast after rain having a steep catchment; this is of course the river which destroyed Lynmouth in 1952. You need to paddle just after rain.
GRADING: 3 and 4.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Low trees. Very canalised at the start. Missing the takeout bridge would almost certainly be a very bad thing.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This short section begins with continuous grade 3, walled in by the canalised banks. Passing behind some houses, the river steepens to grade 4. There is one fall where the river narrows between confining rocks and forms a challenging drop.
You pass through a caravan park on river left, with the river passing over small ledges. A footbridge looms and you need to get out above it on river right. A path leads across the bridge and up to a pub carpark.
This section is for completists...you will have a much beter time on the ineffable East Lyn.
OTHER NOTES: Anybody who has seen this river will really be more interested to know what actually happens downstream of the takeout described here. Well, 'nothing good' is the agreed consensus. The river loses possibly as much as 500 feet in height in the final mile. A walk down the road gives you glimpses of falls landing on rock, manmade weirs and sharp jumbled rocks. Perhaps the most likely looking section is the first few hundred metres; although this is very walled in. Chris Wheeler attempted this section sometime back in the 80's and only recalls walking out in despair. Has anybody else been in there with a kayak?
This has to be the last great challenge in the southwest; there has to be something worth paddling in that epic final mile...????
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.