GUIDE TO SEMINGTON BROOK
(Seeve Cleeve to Melksham)
NAME OF RIVER: Semington Brook.
WHERE IS IT?: Wiltshire. See below for more info.
PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS: Put in at the bridge where the A361 crosses the river near Seend Cleeve. There is nowhere close by to leave a car so it's best if you can be dropped off there.
Take out at Staverton or Melksham.
APPROX LENGTH: 7 km.
TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.
ACCESS HASSLES: Unknown, but we have never been questioned.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: None.
GRADING: Grade 1 with weirs.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Overhanging trees.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Semington Brook is a small tributary of the River Avon (Wiltshire), it rises near Devizes and meets The River Avon at Whaddon, which is half way between Melksham and Staverton.
It is a shallow shiggle bed river with a few small weirs. None of the obstacles are dangerous, but watch out for overhanging trees.
I used to paddle this little river from the Avon confluence up to Semmington and back. My parents house is not far from the confluence, so this used to be quite regular paddle when I was living there. I have also paddled from the bridge where the A361 crosses the river near Seend Cleeve. It is probably possible to paddle down from further up the river but I haven't tried it. I know that there is a small weir and sluice gates just upstream from the bridge.
Paddle a short distance down from the A361 bridge and there is a weir three or four feet high which looks straight forward enough, although I have never shot it as I have only ever descended this river in a racing K1.
In high conditions most of the water is fed past the weir through a sluice gate nearby.
From here the river winds it's way through open farm land for almost a mile and then reaches a large sluice gate which has to be portaged (Right), be discreet here, it looks very private. A little further down there is a "zoom flume" type weir which is similar in size to the one on the Marden.
This is closely followed by a tiny weir (six inches high), and then Semington road bridge (A350). Around the corner from here the brook passes under an aqueduct where the Kennet and Avon canal passes over the top. There are several shallow shingle rapids for about a mile and then the river deepens a little before passing over a cute little weir river right with a mill house next to it. I swam here once many years ago and lost a Dunlop dap in the process so if you find it let me know. A short paddle with a couple of low bridges and you meet the Avon at Whaddon. There isn't an easy egress here so it's best to paddle either up to Melksham or down to Staverton.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Martin Harrall.