Messing about on the river

POSTED ON: 08/09/2016

Messing about on the river By Oliver Paul
Suffolk Food Hall

‘There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats’, said Ratty to Mole. Ain’t that the truth. And with so many rivers at our disposal in Suffolk we really are in the clover. You don’t need to be a sailor on in the possession of a gin palace to make the most of them either: hiring a canoe or rowing boat allows you to explore the shallower creeks and tributaries without scaring off the wildlife; they’re also dead easy to pull onto a bank for a riverside picnic. So who needs a yacht? To hire yours for some summer fun, try one of our local favourites…

Iken Canoe

This estuary, between Aldeburgh and Snape, is a gem to explore by paddle power: its evocative reed beds and shallow inlets are perfectly suited for travel by canoe or kayak. Iken Canoe is a relaxed, friendly outfit that hires out a selection of boats for one or two hours, half a day or a full day. Up to three people can be accommodated in the Canadian canoes (£45 for half a day), which makes them perfect for a small family. www.ikencanoe.co.uk, 01728 688267

Outney Meadows Caravan Park

These picturesque meadows lie just outside Bungay and are a wonderful place for messing around by the river. Hire a Canadian canoe for £22 per half day, and find a quiet spot for a swim or picnic, or just gently paddle amongst the resident herons, kingfishers and dragonfly. www.outneymeadow.co.uk, 01986 892338

Boathouse Restaurant Boat Hire

This restaurant and boat hire in Dedham is a bit of a local institution. Go for lunch and then wile away the afternoon on the peaceful River Stour (you don’t have to eat to hire by the way.) One of their 26 wooden rowing boats might even row you - if you’re energetic – down to Flatford Mill, a mile and a half away. Otherwise, hire one for an hour at £14, and have a gentle paddle downstream before returning for a cup of tea or icecream at the Boathouse. www.dedhamboathouse.co.uk, 01206 323153

River Stour Boating

One for the adventurous. River Stour Boating organise one or two day trips starting at Sudbury and moving along the river to Wissington or Cattawade in fully equipped Canadian canoes (each will seat two plus one child), with a tented overnight stop at Rushbanks farm right on the Stour. These guided 25 mile trips pass through some of Suffolk’s most idyllic countryside and there is much wildlife to be seen too apparently. Prices start at £70pp for a one-day trip. www.riverstourboating.org.uk, 01787 277398

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