Our canoe and camping is a fantastic trip through stunning countryside in Bedfordshire, less than an hour from London.

Book a trip with us to enjoy a stay at our private woodland campsite. This exciting trip was voted Top 52 Things to do in the World by Lonely Planet. Our unique offer of woodland camping only accessed by canoe or kayak has quickly become a popular choice. Finish your day in style at our private woodland riverside campsite, cook over an open fire and sleep under the stars.

Canoe camping is the water equivalent to backpacking, carry enough to travel and camp for several days but do so in a canoe or kayak. It is also known as touring, tripping, or expedition canoeing. We have a number of different trips available which includes a camp in our woods adjacent to the river. Choose your route and then relax and enjoy the nature of the woodland. 

Once you arrive at the woodland, you have your own clearing complete with a campfire (with logs to sit on) and not forgetting the all-important compost loo. Our luggage service will allow you to paddle a light boat and make portages easier, with your luggage waiting for you in your clearing for when you arrive. 

Local Information

Nearest Pub: The Crown - approx 20 min walk from the woodland campsite.
Nearest shop: S C Sinfield Luton Ltd - mainly selling fruit and vegetables is approx 25 min walk from the woodland.



Each booking is allocated a site in the woodland. Each site has its own campfire circle, luggage area (pallet shelter) and a compostable toilet.

Campfire. One of the best bits of camping is being allowed to have a real campfire. The woodland main clearings have a campfire circle. We often pack a tarp and paracord in case it is raining and we need shelter around the campfire. Don’t forget to bring a fire lighting kit such as a good lighter, matches or a flint and steel. You may also need some tinder, paper, or other good material to start it.

Cooking Kit. Don’t forget to bring a grill or something to cook on over the campfire. You can, of course, bring your stove. We have a wide selection of cooking kit that can be hired including:

  • Kettles - every camp needs a brew
  • Campfire grills - specially designed to flat pack into your boat
  • Dutch ovens - big cooking pots that go in the fire

Campsite Features (wild camping vibes)

  • ✅ Camp Fire
  • ✅ Dog Friendly - kept to your campsite
  • ✅ Small Jetty
  • ✅ Long drop toilets
  • ❌ Running Water 
  • ❌ Electricity 

Campfire Cooking. Why not research campfire cooking before you start your paddling adventure and make some lovely campfire treats. We recommend:

  • Green & Blacks Chocolate Banana Melt
  • S'mores
  • Campfire Popcorn
  • Gourmet Woodland Breadsticks
  • Campfire Orange Muffins


Bring your tent or hammock. There is plenty of space in your clearings as well as lots of nooks and crannies between trees. If you pitch a tent just remember pack size and the weight you will be carrying. For an additional cost, you can select a luggage service when you book.

Hire a Tent. We can offer a Tipi for the same household only which sleeps, 6-12 people.

Build A Woodland Shelter. Feeling adventurous, Matchstick Wood is a great place to hone your bushcraft and survival skills. We have plenty of large staves and branches already cut to make shelters. Although requiring a bit of elbow grease there is nothing more satisfying than sleeping in a shelter built by you.


Matchstick Wood is a riverside woodland campsite on the banks of the River Great Ouse. It is not accessible by road or car. So pack light. Please don’t bring the kitchen sink! You will need to bring a kit for camping as well as:

  • Water – you can hire filled containers
  • Toilet roll - don’t be the person who forgets to pack it
  • Fire lighting kit- paper/ lighter/ tinder


Compost Toilets. Compost toilets are what we lovingly call “loo with a view.” They have a simple screen and toilet seat on a wooden frame. Try to leave them clean and as you would wish to find them. There is usually a citronella air freshener and some hand sanitiser. Please bring toilet roll!

Campsite Rules

  • Be respectful of other people.
  • Dogs are welcome as long as they are kept under control and to your campsite clearing.
  • Keep noise to a sensible level.
  • We suggest you don’t run as there are plenty of rabbit warrens and holes to trip you up.
  • Don’t leave smouldering fires, please put them out when you have finished.
  • Leave no trace (no rubbish) take your plastics, and waste with you. 


"Two-day canoe down the Great Ouse river, and camp in Matchstick Wood. Excellent little weekend adventure! Love back to basics camping. Ash and Rich are great. Super friendly and helpful before and during the trip. Will definitely be doing this again, and bringing friends!"



"The second time I've used Canoe Trail in as many months for some overnight canoeing trips with different groups of friends and family. Will continue recommending them. Ash and Rich couldn't do more to help and the campsites available really add to the experience. Will be coming back to do more of the Ouse."



"Booked the 3 day canoe and camp trip, and wasn't really sure what to expect. Honestly, the days couldn't have been any better. The boats turned up bang on time, with some spare waterproof bags. A solid briefing, maps were provided and a load of helpful info and off we went. The campsite was great, and the routes weren't overly arduous, even for someone like me who isn't as fit as they used to be. We are already planning our next trip, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Ash and Rich were wonderful, and helpful even when we bumped into them out on the water with other groups."