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Pesda Whitewater Mini-Guide




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Lake Windermere, source of the Leven | © John Shepherd

INTRODUCTION This is the river that flows out of Win-

dermere. It’s short, exciting and often paddled despite the restrictive access agreement.

WATER LEVEL It does keep its level very well, being fed by

flat section and lead into four rocky drops interspersed with

shoots and stoppers. Take out in the field on the left.

From here the difficulty increases with a large sloping weir

then fast water into the fall underneath Backbarrow bridge

(Gd 4). The drop is always powerful, with a large pool below

the longest and biggest lake in the Lake District.

to collect the pieces. Most sensible paddlers will take out here,

GAUGE If the overflow channel on the left below Newby

another well worthwhile fall. However it is difficult to access.

Bridge is flowing, then the paddling will be good.

because below lies a nasty weir (Gd 6). 30m downstream is

Carefully explore the derelict buildings to find a launch spot

(once these get redeveloped this may not be possible). Inspect

ACCESS Find the minor road just downstream of Newby

the drop, because once on the water it is hard to see the line.

in from the field next to the brick shoot to avoid the spawn-

normally limbo under. Immediately below is a small weir

Bridge (368 863). From October to December inclusive, get

Standing waves then lead to a low footbridge, which you can

ing beds. Get out by crossing the field on river left to a gate

down into some huge waves then a small rocky fall lying in

row bridge (356 855). Egress the lower river by the bridge,

weir then easy water leads to an island. Ensure you take the

just above the woodyard and minor road leading to Backbar-

river left on the B5278 Haverthwaite road (345 835). This

river has an access agreement so please ask the river adviser for details.

DESCRIPTION You very quickly come to the brick shoot

weir – watch out here as the main current when in flood

wait under the A590 road bridge. Below lies yet another large

left-hand channel as the right has a low bridge and metal

stakes. More islands lie below and the river eases down to the

egress on river left below the bridge.

OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS This is a very important

fishing river, please paddle only on the arranged dates that

quickly pushes novices towards the left-hand side of Mill

Lakeland Canoe Club organize.

but is easier on the right. A few playful stoppers follow the

Contributor: Nigel Timmins

Force, a 2m drop just below. The fall is quite straightforward

Excerpt adapted from English White Water, the BCU Guidebook

ISBN 0953195678 , published by Pesda Press, Caernarfon. For details of this and other books, as well as downloads of mini-guides and route cards in this series, visit:



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3.5 km




97 3(4)(6)


OS map data reproduced with the kind permission of the Ordnance Survey

Design & text adapted from the BCU guide to English White Water, published by Pesda Press, Caernarfon.

02 River Leven Whitewater Guide