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Canoeing on the Barle

The River Barle is the largest river that flows through the National Park. It rises high on the central moorlands and passes  well known locations such as Landacre Bridge, Tarr Steps and Dulverton before joining the River Exe near Exebridge.  The Barle offers fantastic oportunities for canoeing in pristine scenery and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its important wildlife that includes salmon, otters, kingfisher, dipper and the very rare river jelly lichen. 

The Barle is largely in private ownership and a permissive access arrangement is in place downstream of Tarr Steps. The aim is to enable conflict free canoeing on this river whilst also minimising any potential risk to wildlife. Whilst every effort is being made to maintain this permission it is ultimately dependent upon the goodwill of riparian owners as well as the consent of Natural England so please help us to make it work.

Canoeing is allowed downstream of Tarr Steps between 15th October and 31st March when water levels are high enough. The frequency of spawning salmon, egg laying sites (redds) and juvenile fish increases dramatically above Tarr Steps and the water level here is generally not deep enough for enjoyable paddling. In order to minimise potential disturbance to breeding fish canoeing is not permitted above Tarr Steps or in any of the tributaries of the main river as many are delicate spawning areas.

The date restriction above aims to remove any possible conflict between the different river users on this narrow river and also reduce any potential impact on breeding birds and mammals during the summer.

The water level restriction will reduce any potential threat to fish eggs in the river bed or river jelly lichen and will ensure an enjoyable days canoeing with minimum scrapes. The water level can be viewed via the web cam link below. Canoeing is allowed when the water level is above 25cm (you need to click on 'Zoomed image for water levels' to see the overlay marker). River Barle Webcam at Dulverton 

This is equivalent to the bottom of the original concrete slip way (where old concrete meets new)

For details of access points and other important information please see the Barle Canoe Code

Safety Information

The Barle is a grade 2-3 river. This means it is not suitable for beginners and inexperienced paddlers should be accompanied by a suitably qualified coach. Canoeing is an assumed risk sport carried out entirely at peoples own risk and Landowners will accept no liability for accidents.

This arrangement is supported by

canoeing logos strip


Latest Booking Information for the River Barle

The following days are currently fully booked: 

18th and 19th February 2017

To book a paddle please contact the Exmoor National Park Centre at Dulverton

Tel : 01398 323841

E-mail: NPCDulverton@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk