Where to Paddle

Iken Canoe paddle guide

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Your adventure on the water with Iken Canoe is dependent on the tide direction on the day of hire. However, a typical session will include a quick paddle downstream to see our family of common seals basking on the mud flats (if the mud is exposed by the tide), before turning around and heading up the winding river to Snape Bridge (and refreshments at the Plough & Sail pub and Snape Maltings if desired!).

Alternatively, paddlers can continue down river where the estuary widens, past historic St Botolp’s Iken Church, Blackheath mansion and Yarn Hill wood, and even as far as magical “Little Japan” beach (very tide dependent).

We will advise you on the best option for you on the day and in the time you have available. Suffice to say, the River Alde is designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is a haven for wildlife including avocet, curlew, godwit, redshank and marsh harrier. Seals are often present and, if you are very, very lucky, otters can be seen!

The River Alde is a place of national importance in terms of wildlife habitat, and we ask our customers to please respect the river environment, wildlife and other river users.

Safety and Rules

Prior to your trip we will give you a comprehensive briefing about paddle technique, the river itself, the tides and some advice on the best direction of travel allowing for the tide (and sometimes wind) in the available time that you are hiring the boat/s.

Most importantly, we will ensure you are confident in how to paddle the craft before we let you go. However, customers should be aware that the River Alde is not like a boating lake and that considerable effort, at times, is required to canoe, kayak and paddleboard against wind and tide.

Please do not underestimate this when you are considering making a booking, particularly where children are concerned. An adult on their own in a Canadian canoe with small children, for example, can find it very hard work without the help of another adult.

Some important rules

  • Buoyancy aids (provided) must be worn at all times by all customers.
  • We reserve the right to postpone canoe and kayak hire if we feel the conditions are unsuitable.
  • We will not hire craft to under 18s, unless they are accompanied by an over 18 in the party.
  • Children under the age of 7 years are not permitted on the river in our canoes, kayaks or SUPs.
  • We do not hire to non-swimmers.
  • We won’t hire out to solo paddlers for safety reasons.
  • We welcome stag and hen parties but recommend that alcohol is not consumed prior to, or during, the hire period.
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