River Culm

River Culm
Old stone bridge with pedestrian refuges over River Culm at Culmstock

The River Culm flows through Devon, England. It rises in the Blackdown Hills at a spring - see OS map - near Culmhead and flows west through Hemyock, then Culmstock (in the Culm Valley) to Uffculme. The river turns south, through Cullompton (and alongside the M5 motorway), skirting the northern boundary of Killerton Park to join the River Exe on the north-western outskirts of Exeter. The name of the river is thought to mean 'knot' or 'tie', in reference to the river's twists and loops[1].

The River Culm begins in a marshy field near Culmhead (picture 2). Four and a half miles from its source the river crosses a road (OS ST17501455). At this point the river is 1.5m wide (picture 3). At Gladhayes the river passes under a two-arched bridge (picture 4). About one half of a mile further the river is joined (from the south) by the waters of Madaford River. From here the river flows on and reaches Culmstock, a village built on both sides of the river. The river is shallower here (picture 5). At Uffculme the river flows in a straight course and flows more slowly (picture 6). The Spratford Steam, whose waters have flowed in a southerly direction, meets the Culm near Willand, and thereafter the river shares its valley with the present main railway line (former Great Western Railway) from Taunton to Exeter. The M5 motorway runs beside the railway, and all three continue past the market town of Cullompton. The river meanders a lot here and is prone to flooding. Shortly prior to reaching Hele - near Kensham House - the small River Weaver flows into the Culm from the east. It passes under a paper mill at Hele (picture 7). North of Stoke Canon the river has many meanders (picture 8). Shedding the motorway to the south of Hele, the river and the railway continue together into Exeter, although by then the Culm has joined the River Exe - just below Stoke Canon (picture 9).

The Source - pic 2
The first ford of the River Culm - pic 3
The bridge at Gladhayes - pic 4
The river becomes shallower at Culmstock - pic 5
The last bridge over the River Culm - pic 9



  1. ^ Hesketh, Robert (2008). Devon Placenames. Launceston: Bossiney Books. ISBN 9781899383986. 

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