IOPCC Trip Report

River Barle: Tarr Steps to Exebridge
Sunday 15th November 2009

After a week of heavy rain the first Club river trip of the season was eagerly anticipated. Seven paddlers headed up to Somerset to Tarr Steps to paddle the river Barle down to Exe Bridge a section totalling some 16 kilometres.

The first section is the South West’s most popular and best Grade 2 trip. Its popularity was confirmed as we arrived at Tarr Steps to find about 30 other paddlers already there. Out trip had coincided with an annual race, which is held in memory of a paddler who had drowned on the river 21 years ago. Just the sort of reminder that the more apprehensive of us needed! The race got underway while we shuttled our vehicles and by the time we were ready to go there were a lot less people about.

The river was quite high but manageable and we were treated to impressively long and numerous rapids. The purchaser of the beers was quickly decided as Ian took a swim early on (after about 400 metres) after failing to negotiate a very large rock. The interest continued down past Marsh Bridge with some interesting rapids that were challenging in places for most of the group but good fun! Continuing on towards Dulverton still water and a horizon line heralded the town weir. River right provided an easy line and all successfully negotiated the weir. Below the weir a long braided rapid led us into Dulverton where this section of the river ends, just below Dulverton Bridge.

Following on from Dulverton down to Exebridge the last 6 kilometres continued to provide interesting paddling, as the level was quite high. There is a large weir about a kilometre after Dulverton. We portaged this one and welcomed the leg stretch this opportunity to be out of the boats provided. The second weir was more straightforward and we all successfully slid down its face. Not long after that the Barle and the Exe converge and there was an enjoyable surf wave lurking where we stopped to play and Andy demonstrated a couple of good rolls!

After another kilometre the road bridge came into view. We had reached our egress and after changing enjoyed a pint (or hot chocolate for some) in the Anchor Inn.

Thanks to Bertie for leading this trip.


Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.

John seal launching
at Tarr Steps
Bertie Beckram
The group on the water Portaging the weir
Waiting to shoot Dulverton Town weir Bertie playing in a surf wave
To the pub...!!
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Report and pictures by: Barbara Browning



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