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Report - River Leen.......disapearing river

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by Mayobren, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Mayobren

    Mayobren 28DL Member
    28DL Member

    Oct 27, 2013
    Likes Received:
    We moved to England when I was about 4 and settled in Radford in Nottingham when I was 6. Around the corner near where I lived was a small river called the Leen. And I spent most of my childhood messing around in a tiny stretch of it. But the path of the leen was a mystery to me, it seemed to disappear and reappear at various points in Nottingham. It wasn't until a few years ago that I traced its full path thanks to google earth. But seeing it on a computer is not the same as traveling along it and so in the summer I decided to quench my curiosity.

    I put in at Bulwell........one of the least salubrious parts of Nottingham


    This river runs through the heart of the city and I was not expecting much in the way of scenery, however almost as soon as I started i was delighted to find that the river was very attractive and teeming in wildlife.


    The banks were festooned with wildflowers and although there was a lot of litter in the river the water was crystal clear and filled will shoals of perch, roach and pike almost as long as your arm. Plenty of birdlife too, several king fishers flashed by me and the little river seemed to support large numbers of duck and wagtails. Less pleasant were the huge clouds of flies that hung over the river ......although I'm pleased to say that most were mayfly and stonefly and I saw my first damsel of the year.


    To the left in the photo above you can see the nottingham tram line.
    There was the occational grim bit

    But all in all the first mile and a half were extremely pleasant and if it wasn't for the hum of traffic you could imagine yourself on a country river.
    However things were about to change. As I approched Basford Crossings former site of the notorious Basford Flats things got a little more............er....... industrial. I didn't take any photo's in the next stretch, you will see why if you watch the video. But this pic of google earth should illustrate it for you.


    Things start to get a little cramped and it really does take on the nature of a drain. Walls are set in the middle of the river and I found myself paddling down a very narrow (<6ft) slice of the river. but this was not the worst section.
    Within a few hundred yards I passed through the first culvert. Beautiful it ain't and I half expected to find the odd corpse. The culverts are the reason that the leen seems to disappear at will and also for my torch encrusted helmet!

    The first Culvert was quickly followed by another


    But mercyfully I emerged into a nicer open stretch of river.


    There were several small weirs on the river........most of which I got stuck on. But as I passed behind Radford Road Police station (in an area called Hyson Green......nice and clean to the kerb crawlers!) I came accross a proper two drop weir. I tried to run it but got stuck and then had to gingerly slide down the weir and leap into the boat before the current snatched it away. There is no way to portage this at all.


    A pretty but scrapey section of river followed before on with the torches for the last culvert..


    this section goes past the site on an ancient mill.........Bobbersmill which gives its name to the area. The mill is long gone but the mill pond is still there in the top right of the photo above.
    Under Bobbersmill bridge and I reach my destination.


    My parents still live about 300 yards around the corner so I popped the Grumman on to the trolly and walked round to beg a cup of tea and a lift back to the put-in.

    This video should give you an idea of what the trip was like as I paddled through the bowels of Nottingham(not literally I hope) the industrial stuff appears about half way in.


    The next section which I hope to do soon has several more culvert sections and weirs

    My apologies for the standard of the following footage which shows my continued exploration of the river Leen


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