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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'O' Ouse, Otter

There are several British rivers named Ouse from the Sanskrit word for water. The Great Ouse is the longest at 160 miles but it is the North Yorkshire Ouse with which I am most familiar.

This is a continuation  of the River Ure; the Ure/Ouse combination at 129 miles makes it the sixth longest in the UK. Tributaries include the Aire and the Nidd (earlier Challenge entries). Its catchment areas drain much of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors.


Map of the River Ouse and its catchment area
The Ouse and the River Trent combine to form the Humber Estuary (see A-Z 'H'.)

As the city of York knows to its cost the Ouse is prone to severe flooding. York is a place that we know well but again I have only one decent photo of the river as it flows through the city.

River Ouse in York - 2006
There are many bridges over the river that give great opportunities for photography.

The Ouse from Skeldergate Bridge with the Ouse Bridge in the background.
Shame I haven't taken any.

I have chosen the Somerset/Devon River Otter because of its name. It's only c20 miles long from its source to where it runs into the English Channel at Lyme Bay on the Jurassic Coast.

River Otter near Otterton
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1771-18340 wrote the 'Sonnet to the River Otter'.


Dear native brook! wild streamlet to the West!
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy, and what mournful hours since last
I skimmed the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps! yet so deep imprest
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that, veined with various dyes,
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child!


I wonder if he wrote that today whether he would also sing the praises of the beavers that have reappeared in the river in recent years. The Otter is the only river in England known to have a breeding population of this industrious animal.

Mouth of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton
The pebble beach and cliffs at Budleigh Salterton are part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Photo attributions:

  • River Ouse - catchment area map: 5 March 2014 ex Ordnance Survey OpenData by Nil j Fanion - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • River Ouse in York from Skeldergate Bridge: 30 September 2007 by Chris Wood - CC BY-SA 3.0 licence
  • River Otter near Otterton: 30 July 2008 by Liz Moon - CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  • Mouth of River Otter at Budleigh Salterton: 18 March 2012 by Barry Lewis - CC BY 2.0 licence,

8 comments:

Wendy said...

Beavers can be a real nuisance.

Emily Bloomquist said...

I am sensing a pattern, Bob. Perhaps it is time to start bringing your camera and photographing these beautiful rivers.

Emily In Ecuador | Oeste de Puerto Lopez (West of Puerto Lopez), Ecuador

Jo said...

On the other hand, Beavers help improve the land in many areas and cause other animals, plants and trees to flourish in the areas they have dammed.

I am familiar with a river Ouse but am not sure which one. I love all these river pictures, whoever took them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - love your enormous Ouse up north, ours in Sussex can be fairly thunderous at times - flooding times and breach far and wide; while the Otter is a delight - love it ... and that walk along at Budleigh Salterton makes me want to visit to explore it ... lovely - cheers Hilary

Kristin said...

River Otter near Otterton, beautiful. Everyday i look forward to finding at least one country riverscape.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, the word "Otter" was used so much that I thought it would be one of them instead of the beavers. I love rivers so thank you for teaching me about some from a land that is foreign to me. I visited England's Thames and a few others but never made it far enough north to have a chance at these. Wolf of Words - kingmengi.wordpress.com

Karen O'Connor said...

I love river views. Fortunately, I have a lot of opportunities near me where I can go to enjoy them. I went on a winter hike recently where there were some trees that had been gnawed on quite a bit by otters. They were interesting to look at. Weekends In Maine

Donna B. McNicol said...

How can you NOT love a river named Otter!

Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
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