Name of river: Ogmore.
Where is it? Flowing from the Ogmore Vale through Bridgend to Ogmore beach in the Vale of Glamorgan.
River levels: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/ho ... ionId=4083
Summary: A much underrated stretch of grade 2-3 which is ideal as an introduction to white water with plenty of little ledge drops, waves, chances to play and hone river skills.
Hazards: 2 weirs require inspection.
If paddling all the way down to the beach be mindful of the rip at the river mouth, it is strong. This section also attracts sizeable (6ft plus) surf on the right day, not a place for beginners without checking conditions first.
Put ins/Take outs: It is possible to put in Ogmore Vale Grid Ref SS934896.There are a couple of portages to consider if putting in this high up and another weir which is boxed in. Just downstream of the Bryncoch Rd bridge in Sarn Village is a good place to put in and is downstream of the first weir. There’s plenty of parking near the bridge.
Take outs: The old stone bridge, known locally as the ‘dipping bridge’, near the turn off for Mthyr Mawr. Grid Ref SS 891784 (OS Map 170) This is a good place to assess the levels.. The river continues down to Ogmore Beach but is much more touring water from the bridge down. .
An alternative take out is the Leisure Centre in the town centre (known locally as the Bridgend Rec) Parking is pay and display (free on Sundays). This is a better take out especially if paddling in fishing season. The Ducking bridge take out is a popular fishing spot do not park there during fishing season! The Leisure centre car park has a foot bridge which overlooks the 2nd weir ideal for checking the towback if planning to run the weir.
Access Issues: There is an access agreement of sorts in place which enables the river to be paddled during the fishing closed season. Paddlers taking to the river during the fishing season should be aware of increased hostility by the local fishing club. Threats to paddlers and their vehicles have been made.
Distance 4.5 miles (approx)
Time Needed: 1-2 hours depending on which put in you choose and amount of playing on way down! If going on to Ogmore beach add another hour at least.
Water level indicators If taking out at the dipping bridge: Downstream from the bridge is a island of stones. If the island is the size of a badminton court levels are low. If it’s smaller than this (or not visible at all!!) you’ll be in for a good paddle.
If checking the EA gauge levels online anything over 70 cm and it all goes and all drops will have celar downstream Vs. If taking beginners anything between 70-100 will be ideal. Over 1.5 metres many of the drops form big stopper waves. Approaching 2 m all bets are off, it’s in full spate!
The Ogmore needs recent rain to go paddlers travelling to paddle should note it runs off very quickly usually within 24rs if rain is not continuous.
Description: An unusual river which flits between countryside and urban settings.
Putting in at Sarn one is straight into a nice little grade 2 rapid with a very big eddy 50 metres downstream (river right) to assemble a group if required.
The river follows a park and then two other rivers join the flow from river right.
Shortly after a concrete bridge the first larger rapid appears in form of two wave forming ledges back to back.
More Small ledge drops (with fun play-waves) occur shortly after this with the 3rd one being underneath a motorway flyover. This is ‘motorway drop’ and is the biggest feature on the Ogmore. It has a lovely deep pool after and is ideal for practicing break outs/ins, rolling etc.
The next drop comes just after the lovely stone bridge downstream. Little grade 2+ (3) ledge type drops occur regularly after this.
As the river comes into Bridgend town it is walled in, be careful of the ledges which protrude out from the wall river left (over 1m on the EA gauge and they will obscured).
Shortly after the walled in section begins there is a small but deceptively grabby river wide stopper. River right (right next to the wall) is the easy line. The drops continue through the town centre and paddlers usually attract attention from bemused shoppers. After passing Tescos (on right) there is a drop of similar proportions to the one under the motorway, in most conditions this should be tackled far river left due to exposed rocks.
After this drop the river follows the left hand bend another small drop and then there is a tiny ledge and the world’s friendliest play wave which is ideal for introducing beginners or the nervous to surfing. Another two ledge drops (take river left) and the warning sign of the sloping weir is visible on the left hand wall. Take out at the little ‘beach’ river right where there is a slipway, this is the get out for the leisure centre. If continuing downstream walk down the road and a footbridge makes inspecting the weir very easy. At medium levels this weir has a good stopper which has held boaters that got it wrong. Portage if in doubt. Tackle left of centre if determined to do it. In low water the weir can be run right down the centre and forms a nice little play wave.. Definitely worth inspecting if in doubt!
Portaging the weir: carry boats over foot bridge and put in from bank on the left. There are 3 More ledge drops (first of which has good play wave in medium/high levels) then look out for the arches signifying the alternative take out at the ducking bridge. In Flood the take out at the bridge is often not an option as the road floods easily.
Other notes: The local canoe club fully support their access agreement, they have an agreement with the local angling club (Ogmore Anglers Association) which allows them to paddle the fishing closed season and on 100 metres of water (just downstream of the 2nd weir) Thursday evenings, in the Summer, for slalom practice. They request all paddlers to stick to the access agreement, however in recent times paddlers have been confronted in the fishing closed season. The agreement is verbal and was intended only for Bridgend Canoe Club. A considerable amount of the land between the stated put in and including the leisure centre take out is owned by the local council.
Pictures of the Ogmore: Medium levels
Last drop before the town centre weir: http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x56/ ... 007012.jpg
Paddler Nige’ B
Picture By Simon Neenan
Playing after one of the smaller drops: http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x56/ ... 007011.jpg
Paddler Mike Gilbertson (Looking very ‘old school’)
Picture Simon Neenan.
YouTube clips of the Ogmore in low water:
Submitted by: Nige Braunton
The best get in is behind Rush Cycles, in Brynmenyn.
Don’t park in the allotted slots though you’ll annoy the shop owners.
Park on the road in front.
You can add length to journey by getting in higher up, behind the Fox and Hounds pub but there’s a massive tree forcing a portage, which is a swampy walk around. Best to avoid.
From Brynmenyn to the Bridgend Rec it’s about 5.5 miles- takes 2 hrs if you play.
I once straight lined it in 45 min but that was really going for it and it was a good solid medium.
We got on at cycle car park behind Fox & Hounds in Black Mill, but there is a huge tree jam between there & the pipe (with a huge dead salmon as well). One right hand corner has a concrete wall at bottom with undercut shelf below water, so take care there. The weir at end of Garw looked pretty nasty - rusty metalwork sticking up - if paddling that trib. Some of drops have been rebuilt, so watch out for rough boulders in places too.
We tried to find a sensible get-on in Sarn, but didn't really succeed. The river description page (here:
"Just downstream of the Bryncoch Rd bridge in Sarn Village is a good place to put in and is downstream of the first weir. There’s plenty of parking near the bridge."
As far as we could tell (according to google), Bryncoch Road is in the middle of Sarn and doesn't have a bridge over the river. :-(
For info, we actually got on at an old closed-off bridge on "Hoel Persondy", but it wasn't ideal, and doesn't have "plenty of parking".
Can anyone tell us fairly accurately where the normal get-in in Sarn is supposed to be?
Many thanks - Conor
I love this little river. Acracking bit of grade 2 with loads of stuff going on and play potential all over the place. 20 minutes from my front door hence the reason I'm on it alot.
BUT... there is a downside to the Ogmore.
It's connected to the sewer system overspill. This means that after heavy rain untreated sewage goes straight into the river (to prevent the sewage system from backing up and flooding). This is not illegal but it is disgusting.
I'm pretty darn careful with my routines when paddling this river (I try not to eat or drink on it and use alcohol wipes after padding). But the river has twice made me seriously ill.
So in summary: Enjoy the Ogmore, but remember it's foul water and treat it accordingly.