Canoe Trail is a trusted provider and partner to a wide range of schools, youth groups and charities. We typically run activity sessions from our home at Kempston Outdoor Centre, from Bedford Embankment or our private woodland, all of which are based on the banks of the River Great Ouse.  Canoe Trail provide a wide of activities and format for school and youth groups including:

  • Half day and Full day multi activity days 
  • Overnight canoe and camp trips
  • Reward days for students
  • Woodland activities to re-wild young people
  • Duke of Edinburgh expeditions
  • Sports Sessions for archery, canoeing and kayaking
  • Hiking and navigation
  • Well-being sessions
  • Outdoor activities linking to curriculum such as Sports or environmental studies

Educational and Curriculum Objectives

Experiential learning and learning outside the classroom are proven as powerful tools for a rounded education as well as learning technical skills, outdoor activities and developing life skills and resilience. There is proven evidence that 75% of young people taking part in outdoor activities as teenagers will remain active throughout their lives.

Canoe Trail can tailor sessions to deliver key life skills such as team work, leadership, decision making, risk management, problem solving, creative skills and communications. We have tools developed through our sister company for supporting the learning journey and curriculum aims. Inspired Life is a multi award winning social enterprise and was a London 2012 Inspire Mark Project.

Kempston Outdoor Centre

Kempston Outdoor Centre is the home of Canoe Trail, our multi award winning family run business offering courses, tourism and hire through to school activities, corporate team building events and British Canoeing courses and qualifications. We offer a fantastic array of outdoor activities and facilities including watersports, range activities, showers and changing rooms, indoor climbing wall, bushcraft and a high ropes course.

Our Staff Team

Canoe Trail have passionate team of highly qualified professional instructors in multiple disciplines. Our DNA is built around adventure with Ashley Kenlock and Richard Harpham having completed over 12,000 miles of human powered adventures from minus 50 to the Sahara. Our instructor team includes sea kayak leaders, advanced canoe leaders, core coach disciplines as well as moderate water endorsed coaches.  Our team has broad experience of bushcraft, range activities and climbing with qualifications, and skills proven over many years.

Canoe Trail’s Accreditation

Canoe Trail hold a wide range of accreditations including Learning Outside the Classroom, Adventure Mark, Adventure Activities Licensing Authority Accreditation, Duke of Edinburgh Activity Provider, Combined Cadet Force Approved Provider and are a British Canoeing Gold Delivery Partner.


Kempston Outdoor Centre has fantastic facilities on site including:

  • Classroom with wifi and projection facilities for training and education 
  • Direct river access for canoe, kayak and SUP activities
  • High ropes course with jacobs ladder, leap of faith, 
  • Indoor climbing and bouldering wall
  • Bushcraft Area
  • Range activities with archery, airguns and axe throwing
  • Team challenges building life skills
  • Toilet, changing rooms, showers and onsite parking
  • Extensive equipment for courses hire such as wetsuits, drysuits
  • Kitchen area, campfire and outdoor cooking areas

Kempston Outdoor Centre Activities


Where is Kempston Outdoor Centre located and where should I park?

We are located in Kempston, full address Hillgrounds Rd, Kempston, Bedford MK42 8QP.

There is limited parking at the site, but you can park at Kempston Mill, which is FREE but please check for a parking meter just in case. Once looking at the river turn RIGHT to walk along the riverside path, through the trees for 5 mins to the launch site, which will be at the gate on the right with our logo on it (there is a slipway to the river on your left). Walk up to the building to get booked in and kitted up.

Is the Kempston Outdoor Centre suitable for young people and schools?

We host many schools and youth groups for outdoor activities and team building exercises.

We are also an accredited Duke of Edinburgh provider, and can organise both hiking and paddling expeditions.

Can I host a birthday party at Kempston Outdoor Centre

We host both childrens and adults parties at the site.

You can see our children's birthday offerings here and adult offerings across the site, with our canoe and camp offerings, our stag and hen packages, our craft hire offerings, and much more.

Can we get coach and minibus access?

We have a small car park at the centre suitable for mini bus drop off or parking. Coaches and buses can drop off and pick up but need to park elsewhere.

Do we need allergies, medical information and parental or School consent?

Participants should bring any medicine and declare allergies, medical information and special requirements through the school or group booking activity. The booking forms will cover off important information about risks surrounding outdoor activities and confirm consent for photos, medical information and allergies.

What do we need to wear?

Essentially dress for the weather in Britain in the outdoors. For watersports we have waterproof trousers and tops available. For courses with lots of capsizes we can provide wetsuits long johns and also have a limited number of drysuits for hire. Participants should bring a change of towel, clothes, old shoes or trainers for watersports, long sleeves / trousers and hats, sun cream and medication.

What sort of numbers can we cater for ?

We have hosted activities for up to 150-160 young people at a time. For larger groups we recommend splitting the students into smaller groups linked to our activity ratios 1:8 for water and 1:10 for land so generally work with 16 to 20 in smaller groups. For larger bookings we often split the activities between our woodland site and kempston Outdoor Centre to provide a more personal and tailored learning experience.