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Bridgewater Canal marks 260th anniversary by welcoming paddle boarders to the waterway

British Canoeing and the Bridgewater Canal Trust are pleased to announce that stand up paddleboarding on the canal is now permitted with a British Canoeing 'on the water' membership! 

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For the first time in its 260-year history, stand-up paddle boarding has arrived on the Bridgewater Canal.  

Before now paddling was limited to canoes and kayaks but after a recent survey highlighted public demand for the activity, Peel L&P’s Bridgewater Canal Company has worked with British Canoeing to make the waterway and approved location for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).

Anyone wishing to use a SUP on the Bridgewater Canal must be a member of British Canoeing. The Bridgewater Canal Company recommends that paddle boarders wear high visibility clothing as well as a life buoyancy jacket or personal floatation aid. 

In December 2020, the Bridgewater Canal Company carried out a survey into the health and wellbeing benefits of the canal during the Covid-19 lockdowns and SUP was a popular request for additional recreational activities on the canal. 

Out of 335 people surveyed, 284 people said using the canal had positively impacted their mental health and wellbeing by an average of 84%. More than 40% also said the canal made them feel either ‘relaxed’ or ‘happy’.

The Bridgewater Canal, built by the Duke of Bridgewater, stretches from Runcorn to Leigh and is thought to be England’s first canal. It was used to transport coal to the Duke’s mine at Worsley and today it is a popular leisure attraction and a home for canal boat residents.  

Our recent survey showed us how invaluable the canal is to people’s health and wellbeing and we’ve looked after the waterway for many years now to bring continuous investment and improvements including towpath works for cyclists and walkers. We’re pleased to be working with British Canoeing to meet public demand for stand-up paddle boarding on the canal and be able to offer another recreational activity on the waterway that we’re sure will be enjoyed by many people.”

– Peter Parkinson, Director of the Bridgewater Canal, part of Peel L&P

We have seen an explosion in SUP activity in the last 12 months. Equipment is now more accessible than ever and more and more people have started to discover the waterways that are on their doorstep through paddle-boarding. I am sure this news will be welcomed by paddlers in the North West and anyone who loves getting out on our historic canal network

– Ben Seal, British Canoeing Places to Paddle manager

British Canoeing provides a wealth of information on Stand up paddleboarding through the Go Paddling website. From buying your first SUP to safety tips, Go Paddling is a great source of advice to get you out paddling safely!