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40 Reasons to Get Paddling in 2014

By Cotswold Outdoor
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Thanks to our partners at British Canoe Union, in celebration of our 40th Birthday we have 40 things to try throughout 2014. From coastal foraging to canoe camping, festivals, sightseeing and canoe polo there are plenty of ideas to make the most of your free time throughout 2014. Use as this year’s inspiration for your local canoe club or planning your own trips and last minute UK holidays. There are plenty of reasons to get paddling!

National Go Canoeing Week – Get involved from 24th May to 1st June with fun activities and challenges happening across the country, there are loads of ways you can get involved with Go Canoeing’s annual festival of paddling fun.

Take part in a Starter Session Go Canoeing Starter Sessions provide a great introduction to the sport and are suitable for all ages. You don’t need to have any previous canoeing experience, specialist kit or skills… just turn up and have a go!

BCU PaddlingCombine a paddle with a spot of coastal foraging Studland Sea School’s Seaweed Scavenge Guided Tours offer the perfect opportunity for budding coastal cooks to learn about this underused ingredient. Search for seaweed around the stunning stacks and sea caves at Old Harry Rock and learn to identify different species and how to prepare and cook them.

Visit an RSPB nature reserve and a haven for wildlife on Dorset’s River Frome Guided Tour provider Wareham Boat Hire is situated near a stretch of the Frome that has been allocated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its unique habitat and abundance of wildlife. Guided Tours also paddle past the RSPB’s Arne Nature Reserve.

Head out on a family adventure in the beautiful Beaulieu River Nature Reserve Liquid Logistics run special family tours along the Beaulieu River in the heart of the New Forest. The tours are perfect for families with young children.

Become a Canoe England member Canoe England membership provides you with licences to paddle on more than 4,500km of Britain’s waterways, giving you the freedom to get out and explore our beautiful country from the water.

Go Canoeing at a National Trust venue The National Trust owns many heritage properties, including historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites and many of the trust’s sites are perfectly placed for you to enjoy a paddling adventure.

Cheer on Team GB at the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup GB Canoeing’s top athletes will be taking on the best paddlers from around the world in the first race of the 2014 World Cup Series from 6th-8th June at Olympic venue Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Go on a canoe course The more you paddle, the more your skills will develop and one of the best ways to improve your canoeing experience and make the most of your time on the water is to book onto one of the many canoe courses available.

Play or watch canoe polo Canoe Polo is the fastest growing competitive canoeing discipline. It’s fabulous to play, but it’s also a great spectator sport and combines paddling and ball handling skills with tactical and positional play.

Paddle Up To The Walls Of Warwick Castle Take a Guided Tour along Plymouth’s coastline and paddle inside a wreck The Mount Batten Centre runs tours from Plymouth’s historic Cattewater to the Saltram Estuary, admiring the many yachts and other boats along the way. If conditions permit the tour includes the opportunity to paddle inside a wreck – surely a unique experience!

Combine a leisurely paddle down the Thames with a relaxing drink in a river-side pub Engage Watersports run the Ferry Pub Tour which travels along a scenic stretch of the Thames from Maidenhead to Cookham, before taking a well-deserved rest at the Ferry pub.

Paddle up to the walls of Warwick Castle Canoe Kayak Trader run Guided Tours from their Victorian boat house, through gardens and parks along the River Leam, right up to the walls of the imposing Warwick Castle.

See Central London from a unique new perspective Join Kayaking London on one of their Big Ben by Night Guided Tours and you’ll be treated to stunning views of some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

Explore rocky coves and secret beaches on a beautiful stretch of Cornish coastline Join Elemental UK for a kayak adventure which will open up parts of Cornwall other holidaymakers just cannot reach – you might even spot seals, dolphins or basking sharks.

Join a canoe club Canoe clubs provide a great way to get started and stay in the sport. As well as providing tuition and running courses, canoe clubs host a range of activities to help you get involved in the sport and the canoeing community.

Learn about the history of Leicester and the wildlife around the city’s waterways The Leicester History and Nature Tour gives you a chance to see the city from a different perspective, while knowledgeable, enthusiastic tour guides will be on hand to help you spot local wildlife and to point out all the historical highlights.

Take on the white water shutes on the weirs of the River Exe Adventure Okehampton’s Guided Tours start on the Exeter Canal where you can practice your technique before tackling the white water on the Exe under the watchful eye of a qualified tour guide.

Get out in the wild and try canoe camping Pack up your tent, load up your camping kit and head off for a weekend’s canoe camping adventure

Explore North Dorset’s beautiful River Stour and experience the tranquillity of river kayaking Drift along with the gentle current while keeping an eye out for wildlife and taking in the local landmarks, including the old Somerset and Dorset railway, Thomas Hardy’s riverside residence and Fiddleford Mill and Manor House.

Paddle Around Birmingham's Grand Union Canal Solve a murder while paddling the Thames Join Wokingham Waterside Centre for one of their Who Dunnit Guided Tours and explore hidden areas of the Thames and its tributaries searching for clues. You’ll need all your deductive powers to figure out the who, where and how of this terrible crime.

Explore Birmingham’s Grand Union Canal Ackers Adventure runs Guided Tours from its base set in 70 acres of semi-rural land. The Grand Union Canal runs straight though the site making it an ideal location for water-based activities such as canoeing, kayaking and Bellboating.

Paddle with a friendly seal colony Portsmouth Watersports Centre is located just a few hundred metres from a colony of 25 common and grey seals and their Guided Tours pass through a wildlife oasis that is best explored by canoe or kayak.

Try kayak fishing Many of the techniques used in kayak fishing are essentially the same as those used on other fishing boats, however the handling of a kayak/canoe requires various different skills especially when landing a catch.

Take a Guided Tour around the stunning islands of Lake Windermere On Windermere Canoe and Kayak’s tour, paddlers can see many different varieties of bird and, if they’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the mink and otters occupying the surrounding areas.

Paddle through the heart of Birmingham Travel through the quiet back waters and into the hustle and bustle of England’s second city.  Edgbaston Watersports’ tour guides will lead you through Birmingham’s famous canal system, past historic buildings and areas transformed by urban regeneration.

Attend a Go Canoeing Event Go Canoeing Events are fun filled days packed full of exciting activities.

See Nottingham’s iconic sporting landmarks from the Trent From the National Watersports Centre, with its whitewater course and regatta lake, you can follow the River Trent past the stadiums of footballing rivals Nottingham Forest and Notts County before passing by the world famous Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.

Soak in the sights of some of Cambridge’s grandest buildings Go Canoeing’s Cambridge Trail follows one of the most beautiful stretches of river in England through the very heart of the city, taking in some of its most famous landmarks and giving visitors an intriguing insight into this quintessentially British corner of the country.

Enjoy views of the English/Welsh border from a 70ft high aqueduct Taking a trip along the Llangollen Canal from Ellesmere to Chirk gives paddlers the chance to navigate the imposing 710ft long Chirk Aqueduct, which was built by civil engineering giant Thomas Telford in 1801.

Discover hidden gems on the Thames Paddling from Hampton Court to Richmond Bridge will give you a truly mixed canoeing experience. The route includes everything from London suburbia to parkland and even a former royal residence. The trail also passes by the only view in England protected by an Act of Parliament!


Paddle along Exeter's Grand Catherdral Try sea kayaking The UK boasts some stretches of truly stunning coastline and what better way to explore them than from a sea kayak? Sea kayaking is environmentally friendly and can provide a great, calming experience where you’re free to enjoy open spaces, salt air and the feeling of being at one with nature. For others the essence of the sport is in meeting challenging conditions, undertaking long open crossings or playing in overfalls and tide races.

Take in magnificent views of the city of Exeter and its grand cathedral Take a circular route down the River Exe and back up the Exeter Ship Canal, which was built in 1566 to enable sailing ships to reach the city centre

Paddle alongside Captain Cook’s ship the Endeavour The Canoe Trail from the Tees Barrage to Surtees Bridge is packed full of interesting sights, including an elegant church designed by Christopher Wren. The Tees Barrage itself is a wonderful piece of modern engineering, creating a powerful artificial canoe slalom course and also cleaning up this once heavily polluted river. The highlight of the trail, however, is the mighty Endeavour – the research vessel that Cook commanded on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand from 1769 to 1771.

Take part in the Canoe England photo competition Why not let the wonderful world of paddling inspire you to get snapping and enter the Canoe England photo competition. There are monthly prizes as well as an overall prize worth over £100.

Explore the waterways in and around Manchester Guided Tour operator Paddles Away UK offer lots of opportunities to explore the waterways of this great city. Tours run on the gently moving River Mersey south of the city, as well as a 40-mile unlocked stretch of the Bridgewater Canal running from Runcorn to Wigan through the heart of Manchester.

Explore the Norfolk Broads For many years the broads were regarded as natural features of the landscape. It was only in the 1960s that it was proved that they were in fact flooded medieval peat excavations. Despite the construction of wind pumps and dykes, the flooding continued and resulted in the typical broads landscape of today, with its reed beds, grazing marshes and wet woodland.

See Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon from the water Stratford is of course world-famous as the birth place of William Shakespeare and a paddle down the Avon provides a great way to see the town. The upper Avon is a beautiful river, with long-slow stretches, and occasional small rapids and weirs.

Escape into the peace and solitude of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Paddle from the tiny River Douglas onto the Rufford branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for a truly relaxing experience. The countryside is generally flat and unspectacular, but the lack of a tow path on sections of the canal have resulted in it becoming quite overgrown in places due to its lack of use, which creates a real sense of peace and solitude.

Win prizes and keep up with all the latest Go Canoeing developments Sign up to the Go Canoeing mailing and you’ll be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. You’ll also receive regular newsletters packed full of information about how you can make the most of your time on the water.

For more information why not visit the Go Canoeing website