Canoeing, kayaking and Paddleboarding in the UK

The UK boasts an amazing network of rivers and canals which is ideal if you want to plan a journey on the water. As many people are opting for people powered modes of slow travel, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding are on the up. If you are planning on exploring more of the UK sans roads, we have selected some of our favourite guides, maps and accessories to help you take to the water:

Paddling Britain: 50 Best Places to Explore by S.U.P, Kayak & Canoe
by Lizzie Carr

Paddling Britain Lizzie Carr.

Written by Lizzie Carr, aka Lizzie Outside, Britain’s best known paddle boarder, this is the definitive guide to stand up paddle boarding across British coastlines and inland waterways. It also provides the full run-down on everything you need to know for successful and enjoyable stand up paddle boarding, from safety tips to kit, weather watching to paddling responsibly. In addition it covers options for canoeing and kayaking.

Listen to Lizzie Carr interviewed by Phoebe Smith at the Stanfords Travel Writers Festival back in February.

Great Britain Canoe and Kayak Map

Great Britain Canoe and Kayak Map from Rivers Publishing showing navigable rivers, lakes and canals, artificial white water courses, different classes of river difficulty, popular trips along the waterways, selected coastal paddles, specialist paddling retailers, etc.

The base is provided by a double-sided road map of Britain at 1:625,000. Different colouring indicates tidal rivers, waterways used by motorized craft and other flat water, as well as the four grades of difficulty.

Inshore Britain
 by Stuart Fisher

An invaluable resource when planning a journey by small boat anywhere along Britain’s coast. A comprehensive guide to Britain’s inshore waters available in a single volume. ‘Inshore Britain’ is an anthology of articles, each dealing with a particular stretch of coast around Britain, that were first published in Canoeist magazine. Stuart Fisher’s commentary is a fascinating read for anyone interested in Britain’s long and varied coastline.

Pub Paddles
 by Peter Knowles

This is an inspiring, high quality guidebook for the South East of England. It is written for the recreational, non-specialist paddler and the trips are suitable for all kinds of canoes, kayaks, sit-on-tops and inflatables. The guidebook will also be useful for group leaders planning organised trips. This family-friendly guide features 26 easy but interesting paddling trips, mostly 1-3 hours long, within an hour or two of London. They provide good access and parking, include pubs and tea shops; castles and camping; and, canoe and kayak hire.

River Wye Canoe & Kayak Guide
 by Mark Rainsley

This guide provides the information and advice you need to plan your own Wye journey, whether it’s a single or multi-day trip, whitewater or sedate cruising.The author, Mark Rainsley, has divided the river into 15 sections, which are described in detail with distances, grades, access points and campsites. These sections can be paddled as single day trips, or combined into multi-day adventures, and there are suggested itineraries for both whitewater and touring expeditions that range from 3 to 5 days. To help you plan your journey there is advice on equipment, safety and access, as well as information on wildlife, culture and landscape.

Also check out these wonderful River Wye canoe maps:

River Wye Canoe Map 1: Glasbury to Hoarwithy

River Wye Canoe Map 2: Hoarwithy to Chepstow

There are two maps in the series –

Map 1 covers the section from Glasbury, Hay on Wye and Hereford to Hoarwithy.
Map 2 covers the section from Hoarwithy, Ross on Wye, Symonds Yat and Monmouth to Chepstow.

Designed by canoeists for canoeists, waterproof and easy to use whilst paddling down the river – it even floats! It shows all the essential paddling information as clearly as possible at a large scale – 1:36,000. The base mapping uses O.S. geodata which has been edited and enhanced to show essential information as clearly as possible. Canoeing information is highlighted with colour boxes and symbols to show recommended launch sites, rapids, campsites, pubs, cafes and canoe hire bases.

Paddle the Thames: A guide for canoes, kayaks and SUPs
 by Mark Rainsley

From its early reaches in the Cotswold Hills, through the Home Counties into London and far out beyond into the estuary, the river’s surroundings are remarkably varied and diverse, yet always attractive and engaging.
In a river stretching 347km, information about where and how to launch is hard to come by, existing guides and media give the impression that the Thames is the preserve of powerboats and rowers. This book sets out to redress these major omissions and misconceptions.

Waterways: A Thousand Miles Along Britain’s Canals

£16.99 by Jasper Winn

Writer and slow adventurer Jasper Winn spent a year exploring Britain’s waterways on foot and by bike, in a kayak and on narrowboats. Along a thousand miles of ‘wet roads and water streets’ he discovered a world of wildlife corridors, underground adventures, the hardware of heritage and history, new boating communities, endurance kayak races and remote towpaths. In Britain most of us live within five miles of a canal, and reading this book we will see them in an entirely new light.

Skye and North West Highlands Sea Kayaking
by Doug Cooper

On the north west coast of Scotland and around Skye there are islands galore, hidden beaches, tide races, great places to enjoy the local seafood and amazing people to meet. All of this set within a fantastic, variable culture of Norse and Gaelic influence that go to make this an area you will return to time and again. Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath, the names of the headlands at either end of the area contained within these pages, even have their own section in the weather forecast. Fifty great voyages are described in a way that is both inspirational and informative. Details of launching and landing sites, tides and potential hazards are provided and the coast is described in exquisite detail. This means that it can also be used as a kayaker’s ‘pilot’ for any journey they might wish to undertake in this area.

Waterproof Phone Sleeve

Now you can truly take your iPhone anywhere with this waterproof iPhone bag. The durable lanyard makes sure that your iPhone is never too far away, and easy to retrieve.

Ortlieb Map Case

Find your bearings with the Ortlieb Waterproof Map Case. This transparent map case protects your maps from moisture, mud, dirt and UV-light. Ideal for hiking, paragliding, canoeing or biking – your map is kept dry and readable from both sides. It may be carried around your neck or secured to your rucksack. Waterproof roll-closure with Velcro.

Waterproof Bag Green

Perfect for keeping your belongings dry. The roll and clip watertight fastening can be clipped on to the boat or on your lifejacket.

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