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Where can you canoe in the UK?

For those who have picked up one of our canoes for sale and are wondering “where in the UK can I canoe?”, you’re in luck, as the UK has thousands of miles of rivers, canals and coastline. A canoe is the best possible way to explore the beautiful sights, landscapes and wildlife that this fantastic island offers.

Canoeing on Canals

As opposed to the ocean and large bodies of fresh water, canal systems are found nearly everywhere in the UK, with them usually being the first port of call for beginner canoeists.

Canoeing on Rivers and Lakes

Rivers are graded in accordance with an International Grading System of 1-6, with grade 1 representing calm and tranquil rivers and 6 being white water rivers that are classified for expert use.

Some areas of inland water are privately owned, and the law on access/navigation rights is unclear, so if in doubt with permission access, don’t risk it as you can be liable for fines and even criminal prosecution. Before you paddle away on your trip make sure you contact the British Canoe Union who has an Access Officer in each region who can advise you about canoeing in local rivers and lakes.

Get a Licence

  • British Waterways manages most of the canals and rivers found in the UK including the River Severn, Trent and Yorkshire Ouse.

  • The Environment Agency manages the River Thames, the River Medway, and the rivers of East Anglia.

  • The Broads Authority manages the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

Map Your Route

Planning goes a long way and will only increase what you get out of each paddle. If you want a pre-planned route, you can go on the BCU’s website for some excellent canoe trails. Personally, we like to plan our own routes, which you can do by viewing a map of the UK’s waterways here.

Canoeing on the Sea

The coastline of Britain is some of the most beautiful landscapes you can find anywhere in the world and provides superb canoeing experiences, from remote coves with spectacular scenery to offshore islands and historical marinas and piers. You’ll also get up close and personal with the country’s wildlife such as dolphins, seals, basking sharks, whales, birds of prey and much more!

There are no restrictions when heading out onto the open ocean, except for shipping lanes, but that is rarely a problem, except in emergencies!

Coastal canoeing in the ocean not only requires but demands respect, knowledge and skill. We strongly advise new paddlers who want to take their canoe into the sea to undertake some form of training with a qualified and skilled sea canoeist, who can teach you the skills to perform at your best when in the ocean and give you the tools to be able to cope if an emergency occurs. When in the ocean, you are at nature’s mercy, and a small mistake on the water can lead to a life or death situation.

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