Our Canoe Trails are a free resource that give you all the information you need to set out on a canoeing adventure by yourself, with family or with friends. They are a great way for people with some canoeing experience to find new and exciting places to paddle.
All our trails have been written by local paddlers, so you can really trust them. There is also a great variety of trails – from scenic routes on rural rivers, heritage trails on urban canals to peaceful floats along the shores of lakes – giving you a great choice for an enjoyable day out on the water.
Within each trail we have tried to include all the practical information you need – information on where to park and the location of the nearest toilet. There’s even information about the history of the waterway you’re travelling on and the local sites of interest.
It’s important before you head out on a trail that you thoroughly read all the information contained within it including the waterway licence info and safety guidance to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time whilst out on the water.
Useful information on what to consider before embarking on a trail can be found here.If you have no canoeing experience we would recommend visiting a club or centre first to build up the basic skills before heading out on one of our Canoe Trails.
To see all of our current Canoe Trails go to the Canoe Near You Trails Search.
Developing and writing a canoe trail
Canoe Trails are canoeing adventures! They are journeys on water designed to inspire and encourage people to get out paddling, equipped with the knowledge they need to stay safe and have a fantastic experience.
British Canoeing is committed to publishing more trails for people to enjoy and is keen to get your help in finding new locations.
If you are keen to help us write a new trail then there is some simple guidance in our new ‘Canoe Trails Guidance Document’ on all the hows, whats and wheres!
Developing and writing a Canoe Trail
1. Identify the route (Start, finish, portages)
Consider what would be a pleasurable paddle; consider facilities and parking at the start/finish, ease of access onto and off the water, number of locks/ weirs to portage round, distance etc
2. Check access /licensing arrangements
Always check what the access arrangements on the waterway are, does it require a license? Who are the other users? Is there likely to be conflict? Check with the British Canoeing access team if you are unsure.
3. Begin to fill out BC trail template
Available from British Canoeing.
The more info the better!
- Paddle the trail
- Research useful info
- Photograph the trail
4. Submit trail to BC
5. BC work up design.
BC Trails team will then edit the content and work up the content onto the trail design.
Building a canoe trail
1. Scope improvements
Look at what improvements could be made to make the route ‘canoe friendly’. This may be adding landing stages or pontoons, or adjusting the bank or canalside so it is easy for canoe & kayaks to access.
2. Approach waterway authority/landowner with plans
Best to approach authorities like the Environment Agency, Local Authority and Canal & Rivers Trust early to ensure they have no objections and that they are supportive of your plans. It is the landowner who will have the final say on whether work to improve the access can be carried out.
3. Consult technical guidance for ideas on design.
Make use of the examples and ideas in the Trails technical guidance.
4. Seek funding
A vital stage in the process – which might begin much earlier in planning. Sometimes waterway authorities may be able to support projects or help signpost to where funding may be available.
5. Seek appropriate ‘permissions’ & finalise designs.
Ensure all the designs are in place and communicated to whoever is carrying out the work. Ensure all the appropriate permissions are sought to carry out any work ‘in river’.
Carry out work