Adventures in (Water) Dowsing

A Zoom Presentation by Aaron Bray 

to the Tamar, Devon, Trencrom, Somerset 

and Thames Valley Dowsing Groups 

If water dowsing specialists really are a dying breed, this is one who isn’t going away quietly any time soon!  

Aaron Bray burst on to the westcountry scene a couple of decades ago as the new kid on the block.  A thoroughbred Cornishman, who has lived and worked in Devon, Scotland and the Channel Islands, Aaron is one of the most experienced and high-profile practitioners of his craft in the UK today.

While much of the world of dowsing has moved on to earth energies, healing, archaeology and spirituality, the ability to work with water is still very much at its source.  Today, the dedicated diviner may be something of an endangered species, yet their skills are as much in demand as ever.  Climate change and political upheaval mean we are more likely, not less, to need the practical knowledge of the water dowsing specialist.  Sophisticated hi-tech tools have certainly extended the range of the hydrology engineering professional, but as anyone who has ever talked to a front line water company leak chaser will know, when the going gets tough, the tough get out their dowsing rods.

Aaron Bray

Finding appropriate sources of water is still the gold standard of the water diviner’s craft, even in the modern world with its dense mesh of intersecting utility networks. It’s just that now, instead of new drilling opportunities, more time is devoted to finding leaks and faults in existing systems – and in locating lost pipes, conduits and cables.

Aaron’s documented credentials read like a catalogue of the great and the good of the dowsing world.  He has been fortunate enough to have collaborated, as a young man, with some now regarded as dowsing royalty, including Cornwall’s finest, Donovan Wilkins, and the highly regarded George Applegate.  Later, he also worked with the legendary Channel Islander George Langlois.

He has a vast back-catalogue of anecdotes and cameos from those early days – such as Donovan Wilkins leaning on the gate of a field and ‘seeing’ the flows of water he had come to dowse as red streaks on the grass.  But you couldn’t charge for that, so he would have to get out his tools, wander around purposefully for a while, and eventually mark up the lines he had observed in a few seconds, some hours previously, in a professional manner.  

Aaron also has an impressive list of clients and employers, which sets his CV apart from that of his contemporaries.  In this talk, he illustrated some of his work on a considerable portfolio of major engineering projects, both in the UK and further afield.

His recent roles on the Island of Alderney have certainly been the making of a man who never seems to have had a ‘day job’.  As the Estates Director of a small community, in a highly challenging socio-geological environment, he had a breadth of responsibility in a wide range of practical working situations that most of us wouldn’t even have contemplated.  Here, his dowsing heritage really came into play – finding and repairing not just damaged and unrecorded utilities and infrastructure, but locating unknown WWII German pipe-work, tunnels and even bunkers.  It was clearly not a task for the faint-hearted, but that phrase would be pretty meaningless to the irrepressible Mr Bray.

While many events in Aaronworld seem to be larger than life, it is not just the headline opportunities that have made him who he is today.  There is another side to his personality.  He was clearly very moved by a trip to Africa, which he undertook, at his own expense, with the charity Village Water – an organisation historically supported financially by the British Society of Dowsers.  The high-end tools of the European hydrologist were hard to come by in the bush, but the need to find sources of clean, potable water were necessary and urgent.  It was a test of his resourcefulness to transfer the skills honed on the granite and chalk of the English countryside to the sandy and semi-arid soils of East Africa – and it’s one place where a lifetime’s experience of using the time-honoured and world-wide basic skills of the dowser came very much to the fore.

Despite having undertaken so many projects and activities, he has still found the time to spend a good part of his adult life as a volunteer with search and rescue teams.  He also takes understandable pride in the water-engineering infrastructure that he and his teams have left as legacies in the places that he has worked.

Despite his hydrology prowess, Aaron’s dowsing interests are actually much broader – and his time on the Les Iles Anglo-Normandes enabled him to explore the archaeology of the area in the company of the ever-welcoming Guernsey Dowsers.  Not content with exploring what was there, he decided to erect his own labyrinth on Alderney – and very impressive it looks too!  As a former spatial planner, I found people with that sort of approach a professional nightmare – but you can’t help but like the guy, especially when he’s on your side.

For all his confident Action-man persona, Aaron has clearly mellowed over the years, perhaps due in part to the arrival of his four children, all of whom were pictured in the zoom, resplendent with dowsing tools in hand.  While others might choose to have a family, Aaron seems to be co-creating a dynasty!

Now re-resident in a large Victorian house on the eastern (English) side of the Tamar, he will be in a prime position to see the sunset over his Kernow homeland – if he ever gets home from work in time, that is.

Many thanks to Aaron for this presentation, given in his engaging and enjoyable trademark style.  From the interest shown in his work during the Q&A afterwards, his involvement back in our part of the world will be most welcome.

Most people returning to a community might do so quietly.  But not Aaron – Bray is back – lock up your stopcocks! Welcome home.

Nigel Twinn

Tamar Dowsers

March 2021

For more information on the work and activities of Aaron Bray, including his Discover Dowsing Adventures and Tours, please see his Facebook page.