Pulling up alongside the canal where it meets the River Trent on a dull, blustery, pre-autumnal day, it wasn’t the picture perfect, clear sunny day you’d imagine when you think of paddle boarding adventures. But here in the UK, you’d be hard-pressed to find one of those days anyway, so the uninspiring weather conditions just added to the challenge, and the atmosphere!
Testing out one of the new 'spooky trails' from Beeston Weir to Holme Pierrepont, this 6.2 mile paddle weaves through historic parts of Nottingham, down the River Trent and finishes at the home of National water sports.
We wrapped up warm, cup of tea in hand and cags at the ready, pumped up our inflatable paddleboards and put in just below the weir (walk passed the CRT tea rooms and over the bridge towards the football fields), where there's a concrete slipway which leads to a little landing beach. It’s the ideal spot to launch – far enough away from the weir to feel stable, but also has a nice flow to get your started on the trail.
The first spooky spot you come to is Clifton Hall, possibly the scariest of all the spots on the trail. The previous owner sold it in a hurry after several spooky encounters in a very short period of time, including haunting voices, knocks and shape-shifting phantoms.
The flow will take you steadily downstream, under the not-so-pretty Clifton Bridge and towards two spooky spots at Wilford, where there’s tales of toll workers never leaving the bridge they once worked on, and dangerous poltergeists too! We quickly paddled passed this point and on towards the more familiar West Bridgford and Lady Bay areas.
From here, the paddle gets a little more scenic, with overhanging trees, wildlife aplenty and expensive, plush river bank pads.
The trail, with historical references and ghost stories in abundance, makes a superb Sunday afternoon paddle no matter what the weather. The howling tail winds and overcast skies certainly added to the atmosphere on our first ever spooky trail paddle. Now… onto the next!
Written by Rebecca Lovatt