Guide to Canoeing & Kayaking the Rivers & Broads in Norfolk & Suffolk
You don’t have to be an experienced canoeist in order to get afloat on the Norfolk Broads you don’t even need to have your own equipment - there are a variety of Hire centres throughout the broads as well as Guided trails that are run on a regular basis.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads and their feeder rivers offer a variety of canoeing opportunities for paddlers of all craft and all levels of experience. The major tributaries outside of the area controlled by the Broads Authority offer canoeing on quiet waters away from powered traffic there is only one company that offers access to these areas - TheCanoeMan, whilst the rivers within the Broads system there are numerous canoe hire centres that offer the opportunity to survey this special conservation area and its wildlife from close quarters, albeit in company with other, larger, craft. The Broads themselves offer what can be at times challenging canoeing for the more experienced paddler, particularly during less settled weather, whilst the advanced paddler can find extreme conditions around the mill races on the major rivers and on those rivers and broads subject to strong tidal flows.
Licenses are not required on non-navigable stretches of Norfolk’s rivers although access & egress points can often be difficult to find. For more information about the rivers outside the Broads authority area contact TheCanoeMan (details below). However all craft using the navigable stretches of the Broads are required to be licensed.
Licenses may be obtained from:
Broads Authority, Dragonfly House, Norwich, NR3 1BQ
Tel: 01603 610734
Alternatively, membership of the British Canoe Union covers your craft around a lot of the country including the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads as well as British Waterways Board and other navigation authority waters. Details can be found at www.bcu.org.uk or alternatively speak to TheCanoeMan on 0845 4969177/01603 783777.
The Norfolk Broads are probably one of the most easily accessible wetlands in the country they offer many miles of canoeing & kayaking in beautiful surroundings. It is however important that you are aware of where you are allowed to get in / get out and what areas are suitable for the less experienced. It is important to note that there are few inland waters in which there is an automatic right to navigate. Within the Norfolk Broads many areas of water are privately owned, and their use regulated to varying degrees. There is limited land access to the rivers and broads, and access is often over land in the guardianship of parish councils or private trusts. Rivers outside the jurisdiction of the Broads Authority are also subject to riparian rights of ownership, and in some cases can only be canoed by arrangement with the riparian owner, normally through the BCU’s voluntary Access Officers. Generally speaking, individuals and small groups are less likely to encounter difficulty. Larger groups should seek local advice before their trip. If in doubt current upto date access information can be sort from the BCU Local Coaching Officer Mark Wilkinson at www.TheCanoeMan.com
REMEMBER - Do not canoe alone - wear a buoyancy aid - undertake a course of training - paddle within your ability.
The area can be broken down into these river systems: