River Yeo (Parrett)

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River Yeo in Ilchester

The River Yeo, also known as the River Ivel or River Gascoigne, is a tributary of the River Parrett in northern Dorset and southern Somerset.

The Yeo rises in Somerset, near Henstridge Bowden in that county and flows south amongst the North Dorset Downs soon into Dorset itself. It flows south-westward by Sherborne, and west towards Yeovil.

To the south of Yeovil, near Yeovil Junction Station, the river turns north and it (or its old course) forms for some miles the border between Dorset and Somerset, rushing by the foot of the Somerset town of Yeovil, to which it lends a name, before decisively entering Somerset a little south of Up Mudford.

The Yeo curls gradually more westward to pas through the Somerset towns of Yeovilton and Ilchester, where it enters the Somerset Levels. The Yeo falls into the River Parrett near Langport.

Name of the river

Like the several other rivers in Somerset and Devon of the name, the Yeo is derived form the Old English ea, meaning simply "river". The alternative name of "Ivel" may be from the Old Welsh river-name gifl, meaning "forked river".[1]

Navigation and tributaries

The river is navigable for light craft for eight miles from the Parrett up to Ilchester.[2]

The Yeo's tributaries include the River Wriggle, Trent Brook, Hornsey Brook, the River Cam and Bearley Brook.


  1. Mills, A.D. and Room, A. A Dictionary of British Place-Names Oxford University Press
  2. Jim Shead website