Local ‘flat’ paddles

A list of nearby locations suitable for easy / flat touring paddles. Some of these will have weirs. Note that the access situation is unspecified, unless explicitly made clear.

Very close to Bristol

River Avon near Bristol. All of the sections of the Avon are paddleable, though there are some weirs and access may be difficult in places. Suggested stretches are:

  • Bristol docks up to Hanham lock.
  • Hanham lock (by the Chequers pub) to Keynsham.
  • Saltford upstream to Bath or downstream via Kelston to Keynsham.
  • Bradford on Avon to Bathampton. You can cut this short at Dundas Aqueduct. The canal parallels the river so you can paddle a loop if desired.
  • Bathampton to Bath (egress just above Pulteney weir).
  • Tidal stretch. Take the incoming tide from Shirehampton (or Sea Mills) up through the Avon gorge to Cumberland Basin. Aim to be at the basin around high tide, and you may be permitted to enter via the lock (not guaranteed).

Congresbury Yeo. Easy access point by the A370 road bridge in the middle of Congresbury.

Further afield

River Wye. Various sections eg Ross on Wye to Kerne Bridge, Kerne Bridge to Symonds Yat, Symonds Yat to Monmouth, and further down to Redbrook. It would be possible to cycle the return journey from Monmouth back to Symonds Yat East.

River Usk. Sections below Crickhowell are grade 1 or very occasionally grade 2. The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal follows the river closely along some of its length.

River Exe, Loop from Exeter Quay to the estuary, and back up the canal. Information here: https://www.aswatersports.co.uk/go/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Exeter-Canoe-Kayak-Loops-h-res.png

River Avon (Warwickshire Avon). Pershore to Bredon. This includes a weir (Nafford Weir) which you can play on (or portage).

River Frome (south of Bath). This is paddleable from the A36 bridge at Woolverton through to Iford (and, presumably, all the way to join the Avon at Freshford). There are multiple weirs, and may not be easily navigable in low water, so this may only just count as a ‘flat’ paddle.

River Chew. This is also paddleable from Chew Magna (near the outlet of Chew Valley Lake), though Pensford to Compton Dando (and beyond). This also has many weirs and may not be easily navigable in low water. Chew Valley Lake itself is private.

Sharpness Canal. This canal stretches from Sharpness Docks on the Severn (20 miles north of Bristol), up to Gloucester. There are various possible sections, eg starting at Purton, go either south towards the docks, or north towards Slimbridge. Or get in at Saul Junction (Frampton upon Severn), where there is more parking space, and you can paddle either direction.

Other information

Rainchasers (http://rainchasers.com/river-levels) which concentrates on white-water but does include grade 1 and grade 2 also.

Paddling trails (https://gopaddling.info/find-paddling-trails)