Many thanks to Kings Nympton Estate
for facilitating this camera's location and to the Westcountry Rivers Trust for capitally funding its installation. Great location for the webcam in the grounds of The Cottage on the banks of the River Mole.
The River Mole gracefully winds its way through the picturesque landscapes of North and South Molton, adorned with a tapestry of fields, steep wooded valleys, and tranquil country lanes, until it converges with the River Taw. The combination of the River Mole and the Umberleigh webcam provides valuable insights into the conditions prevailing in the Taw system, making it an invaluable resource. The river has gained renown for its salmon and sea trout fishing, which adds to its esteemed reputation.In 2009, the Westcountry Rivers Trust, in collaboration with a consortium of riparian owners and the Environment Agency, successfully secured funding exceeding £200,000 for a significant undertaking—the replacement of Head Weir on the River Mole, one of Devon's primary tributaries to the River Taw. This ambitious project aimed to replace the ageing weir and fish pass with a cutting-edge pool and riffle system, making it the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.Out of the total funds raised, the Westcountry Rivers Trust secured £130,000 in funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through the National Association of Rivers Trusts. Additionally, they raised an additional £75,000 from land and river owners within the River Taw catchment area. The Trust commissioned the Operations Delivery Team of the Environment Agency to undertake the project, and the work commenced in the spring of 2010 with the removal of the old weir.The previous Head Weir (depicted in the images below on the left and center) stood at a height of 2 meters, featuring a smooth-faced concrete chute. Despite having a fish pass, it was widely regarded as a nearly insurmountable obstacle to fish migration up the River Mole, obstructing access to the expansive spawning grounds and nurturing areas located upstream. As October drew to a close, following six months of intricate and occasionally challenging work, the old structure vanished, replaced by a remarkable and innovative design that promises to revolutionize the ecological dynamics of the River Mole.The nearing completion of the new pool and riffle system is an awe-inspiring sight. Spanning a length of 60 meters, it consists of embedded tombstone-shaped boulders strategically positioned at 5-meter intervals, forming a series of stepped pools with a gradient of 1 in 30 (as shown in the image above on the right). This structure will create a diverse array of flow patterns and channel characteristics, facilitating fish migration under both high and low flow conditions. Simultaneously, it will redirect a portion of the flow into the historic Head Mill's mill leat, which was the original purpose behind the presence of a weir at this location.