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Canoeing and Kayaking In New Forest

Read our guide for Canoeing and Kayaking In New Forest and Find and Book experiences, courses, activities and tours! Browse through the list of experiences, either instantly book onto your dates or enquire to book. All you have to do is turn up and enjoy! If you’ve got any questions about any specific experience, send a message and the providers will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Have a specific experience in mind that we don’t have listed? No problem, drop us a message and we’ll send your quote around to hundreds of the best experience providers nationwide and come back with you the best quote, making it easy for you to make the most of your spare time!

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The New Forest

Covering just over 200 square miles and having been declared a Royal Forest by William the Conqueror almost 1000 years ago, the New Forest has a history almost as rich as it’s flora and fauna! Containing broad areas of both woodland and heathland it is home to wild horses and deer amongst others, who enjoy its idyllic glades, moors and majestic ancient woodland almost as much as the millions of visitors. Being just 90 minutes from London by train it’s a fantastic day trip if you can’t stay longer.

Why Go Canoeing and Kayaking in the New Forest?

In amongst it’s beautiful landscapes the New Forest is drained to the south by three rivers: Lymington River, Beaulieu River and Avon Water, and borders the Solent to the west of Southampton Water, so there’s ample opportunity for some canoeing and kayaking in some gently flowing rivers and estuaries. The coastline can be fairly choppy, but in fine weather makes for some glorious paddling along the coast, with the Isle of Wight ever-present across the Solent. If you’re staying for longer why not make a day trip over to the Isle of Wight and take out a kayak to explore some of the coastline here too?!
new forest watersports

Canoeing and Kayaking in Beaulieu

The Beaulieu River in particular offers fantastic family kayaking and canoeing, with plenty of activity providers around, and lots of hidden creeks to explore whilst you try to spot the prolific birdlife here, alongside moon jellyfish and maybe even Beaulieu’s resident seal!

Canoeing and Kayaking in Milford-on-Sea

Learn to kayak in the sheltered salt marshes of Keyhaven, or enjoy a paddle out to Hurst Castle on the sand spit. If the sea is calm head for the open water, and enjoy a well earned tea and cake (or something stronger) back in the town when you’re all paddled out.

Canoeing and Kayaking in Lymington

Another great spot for gentle paddling, head upriver under the railway bridge for gentle shallower waters, or alternatively head past the impressive marinas and explore the lakes that make up part of the salt marshes here.

Canoeing and Kayaking in Christchurch and Mudeford

Just outside the official New Forest borders, and also worth a little drive if you’re staying for longer, is Christchurch. Hire a kayak, or join a tour, and explore up the Avon from Mudeford Quay. Alternatively head upriver on the River Stour to Ilford, where the river becomes more peaceful, with the rare opportunity to spot otters.
Canoe and Kayaking in New Forest, Near Me

Safety Advice for Canoeing and Kayaking

A license is just one small part of the puzzle when it comes to working out where and when to paddle. See our list below on things to consider before going canoeing or kayaking:
  • Weather, flow, tides and visibility: Attention should be paid to the flow of the river by checking the environment agency website and others. A significant flow on the river can be caused by excessive rain, often hundreds of miles away, that over a number of days, pour into the river can cause significant currents. Whilst its often hard to see ‘flow’ just by looking at the river the National River Flow Archive can provide specific information on the flow to enable you to decide if it’s worth the outing. Often, it’s much nicer to paddle in calmer waters, rather than battling a surging river and having greater risk around meanders, bridges and other boat vessels, so this is something to consider. Likewise, wind, tide, weather and visibility should be taken into consideration when planning your canoeing or kayaking trip.
  • Conditions within your level of capability Always err on the side of caution when going out in your canoe or kayak and make sure you’re comfortable with the conditions of the water
  • Tell your friends: Let people know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Ideally go with a group of people so if someone falls in, you’ll have others to help or raise the alarm
  • Get training: Book in a canoeing or kayaking instructor course or experience days on Beyonk
  • Practice falling in drills: In calmer waters and with the supervision of an instructor, practice how to fall in and what to do when you do fall in, so you’re prepared on what to do
  • Consider wearing safety equipment such as buoyancy aids, which can be life-savers in many scenarios even if you’re a strong swimmer. The water temperature, flow or taking a knock to the head can all present risks that will make your swimming skills useless and a buoyancy aid life-saving
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions of your paddle. Don’t risk getting soaking wet and cold in the rain if you’re going out for prolonged periods
  • Be aware of waterway restrictions, from boating lanes, military operations and more, to avoid any dangers
  • Make sure to get stacked up on nutrition and water to maintain energy levels if you’re going for over an hour's paddle.
  • Take a communication device, mobile or radio in case of emergency and call 999 if needed.

Canoe and Kayaking Hire in New Forest, Near Me

Where can I go canoeing or kayaking in New Forest?

Unfortunately there are all sorts of restrictions on where you can go canoeing or kayaking in Wales, as many bodies of water are owned by different organisations and there are more specific protections in place. It’s not quite as simple as just rocking up to your closest river and going for a paddle. There have been stories of authorities asking to see licenses and being able to fine those canoeing and kayaking without a license.
There are some places where licenses aren’t required, like paddling in the sea, estuaries or most tidal water (which can often travel quite far up many rivers). However, these are the areas that require skill and experience to go paddling. Nevertheless, estuary and sea kayaking can offer some of the most rewarding experiences with sightings of seals, a wealth of other animals and stunning coastal scenes.
Canals and inland rivers can be great places to kayak and canoe as waters can be easier to navigate and manage than tidal waters. However, for many inland rivers in the UK you’ll need to work out whether you are able to canoe or kayak there due to both private restrictions and licensing restrictions. In Wales, check out the Canoe Wales website for the rivers where you can canoe or kayak under their membership. If there are any questions, you’re best off sending them a message to see what license is required (if any) for your stretch of river. Restrictions also exist for where land is privately owned (e.g. beaches), where there are environmental protection schemes such as Nature reserves, where there are military bases or activity happening or where there are restrictions due to safety such as avoiding shipping lanes, waste disposal or dangerous wrecks.

Canoe and Kayak Clubs, Hire and Lessons in New Forest near me

Search through our map of hundreds of canoe and kayak clubs, places to hire equipment or find lessons. If you’re looking for something specific, drop us a message and we’ll find it for you.

Canoeing and Kayaking for Families and Kids in New Forest

Canoeing and Kayaking are great family friendly sports. Canoes are more of the stable and spacious choice that allow for gentle and calm paddling experiences. Kayaking also offers the option for two-seaters that are a great way to bond with a friend or family member. Sea Kayaks and Touring Kayaks are incredibly stable, like Canoes, so it's more difficult to fall in or get wet. When it comes to the types of water to look out for, calmer water makes for a more enjoyable experience with kids. Look out for local lakes or canals for safer and more tranquil paddling. The beauty of canoeing and kayaking are that they are 'sit down' sports. The level of fitness required for both - at entry level - is relatively low, so most people can get involved with the sport.

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