We provide canoe hire to allow you to paddle and explore stunning locations on the River Great Ouse and a variety of other paddling destinations.

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Canoes On The River BankCanoe Trail offers high-quality boats, equipment, and simple bank-based tuition at great paddling locations. Our canoe rental fleet includes a range of different boats with different seating configurations. We have temporary seats for children and young people as well as kids-sized paddlers.

What is a Canoe?

Canoes are the traditional (Canadian) open boats originally used for load carrying and exploring Canada’s remote wilderness. We have different canoes allowing 2, 3, or 4 paddlers to take to the water. Your paddle has a blade on one end and a T piece of grip on the other with paddlers facing forwards. Our canoes vary in design from traditional prospector designs in 16ft and 17ft canoes as well as shorter more stable 14.5ft designs which are more stable, wider, and slower. We also have canoes for sale from time to time.

We can provide the necessary equipment that you will need for your trip including:

  • - Suitable canoe
  • - Paddles (we have some junior paddles)
  • - A basic map
  • - Waterproof dry bags
  • - Buoyancy Aids
  • - Trolleys (if needed)
  • - Waterproof tops (if needed)
  • - We also have some back support for those with back problems.

 

Day Hire

A large proportion of our canoe hire is based on the River Great Ouse in Bedford. The best way to rent canoes is to book one of our river journeys. Pick your route and craft for a self-guided hire (there and back). If you want to try something a little longer and possibly a bit more challenging then you can opt for a multiday trip with canoe camping options staying in our woodland campsite. Depending on whether you hire a canoe, kayak, double kayak, or stand-up paddleboard you will also find that you can travel at slightly different speeds. 


River Journeys

Our selection of journeys are slow-moving and offers a perfect mix of stunning rural countryside and Bedford’s Victorian Embankment. There are a number of different options for paddling and hire on the River Great Ouse. We can advise you on duration and route depending on what you are looking for, length of time paddling, pace, and of course what you would like to see. These include:

  • - Bromham to Bedford (6 miles): This starts below the 14th century stone bridge and small rapids in Bromham and flows gently down to Kempston Weir which you need to portage (carry around) and then continues down into Bedford and its historic Victorian Embankment. Paddlers usually stop by the Longholme Boating Lake and café.
  • - Bedford to Great Barford (7 ½ miles): This part of the trail starts near the Butterfly Bridge on Bedford’s Embankment opposite Russell Park on the lower river. Paddlers then paddle down to Cardington and postage past Cardington Lock, onto to Castle Mill with another portage (carry around) before arriving at the final Lock at Willington. This part of the trail passes through the Bedford River Valley Park and also the Danish Camp, riverside Café. This section of the trail ends at Great Barford next to the Anchor pub and the bridge above Great Barford Weir
  • - Great Barford to St Neots (8miles): Great Barford to St Neots another particularly rural and scenic stretch of the river. The water here is crystal clear with a few reeds rippling in the lazy current. The trail passes the back of Wyboston Lakes, the old Mill at Eaton Soccon and heads into St Neots riverside town. The trail either ends at the Ambiance Café which is next to the town bridge or further downstream at the River Side Campsite where many of our paddlers chose to camp over.

 

Longer river journeys include:

  • - Bromham to Great Barford (13 ½ miles typically about 6-7 hours)
  • - Bedford to St Neots (14 miles typically 7 hours)

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