Where to paddle
The British Isles are made for paddlesports – there is a wonderful variety of water to choose from. Inland, the canals, rivers and lakes offer simple touring on placid water, through to challenging white water descents.
Not all inland water is open to canoeists, some is privately owned or is bounded by land which is private. The law is actually very confusing and unclear as to acces/navigation rights. The British Canoe Union has an Access Officer in each region who can advise you about local canoeing waters. The coastline of Britain provides superb canoeing water, some of which is remote with spectacular scenery. Coastal canoeing in all but enclosed, sheltered sites demands knowledge and skill. Experienced canoeists are always keen to help beginners develop themselves, but you are strongly advised not to embark upon any coastal cruise or whitewater river trip without adequate personal ability, training and knowledge.
• There are several thousand miles of canals
• These ‘water highways’ offer safe touring
• A licence is needed – included with BCU membership for all 2,000 miles of British Waterways canals
• Surf beaches, off shore islands, sea cliffs
• Seek expert guidance before going afloat
• Courses available around the country
Rivers and Lakes
• Upland rivers offer white water
• Lowland rivers, lake s and lochs offer interesting touring
• Many lowland rivers require a licence – BCU membership includes a licence for British Waterways rivers and canals and Environment Agency waters
• Some of the best whitewater rivers have a voluntary access agreement where the landowner has agreed to let canoeists paddle, however many do not. Check first with the local BCU Access Officer, local paddlers and/or up-to-date guidebooks.
• BCU Access Officers can give help on where to get on and off the water
You, Your Canoe and the Environment
England has a wonderful network of inland and coastal waters that are amongst the best in Europe. Canoe England's "You, Your Canoe and the Environment" leaflet provides guidance on good practice for using these waters in a responsible and appropriate manner. Canoeists should be able to enjoy their sport and recreation in harmony with the natural environment and share the resource with other water-users.
Link to Canoe England Website - You, Your Canoe and the Environment