Places to paddle in Yorkshire

Places to paddle in Yorkshire

If you are looking to get out on your paddleboard, kayak or canoe and think that Yorkshire is the place to do this, then this is the article for you! We have pulled together just a couple of our top places to get on the water and enjoy yourself. Peaceful canals, coastal paddles, and gentle rapids, Yorkshire has them all. It would be impossible to cover them all in this short article, so be sure to check out more of what this diverse county has to offer on our paddle points web page.

The River Ouse

Nether Poppleton To Acaster Mabis – 9.9 miles

First on the list is a lovely paddle trail that starts north of York. Taking you through the historic city centre, to the southern side of the city, the trail ends at the Ainsty ales brewery and tap house. Beginning in a surrounding of fields, this paddle takes you down the gentle flow of the Ouse. Then meandering around the suburbs and historic city centre of York.river ouse boats town

Passing through the historic city boundary, you pass the national railway museum, Jorvik Viking centre, and St Mary’s Abbey. With a great number of parks, cafes and pubs along this stretch of river bank, the city it a fantastic opportunity to grab some food.

Coming out of the city you paddle along the banks of the Rowntree Park, a large green area that is beautifully maintained, down to the millennium bridge which connects the park with Danesmead wood. This is the return to scenic green surroundings that takes you past a couple of small villages. Simply follow the flow down to the York Naburn lock, where you can use the slipway on the right hand side and visit the Ainsty ales brewery. Alternatively, follow the canal down the left and use the lock to get out on the left and visit the small tea room by the lock. Either is a perfect way to finish this paddle.

Do I need a waterways licence for this trip?

Yes, a licence is required for paddling on this river. A British Canoeing ‘On the Water’ membership includes a water licence that covers paddlers on the river Ouse.

Yorkshire coast

Whitby – River Esk

Take a paddle through the history filled coastal town of Whitby, and out onto the North Sea. This paddling trip is very flexible to make into whatever you want it to be. From a short paddle out to the beach to a much longer paddle from up the River Esk.Whitby harbour river esk

The town of Whitby has the River Esk running through the heart of it, and out into the historic harbour. From the water you can take in the ruined abbey that was the inspiration for Bram Stokers famous Dracula. The mouth of the river is busy with fishing boat traffic coming in from the North Sea, so make sure you stick to the right hand side of any waterway.

You can take your pick of starting points, opting to make your trip longer or shorter as you wish. Starting at the heart of Whitby, you can launch in the marina. By making your way downriver, you’ll paddle onto the sea water in no time. For a longer adventure you can make your way upstream and begin from one of the beautiful riverside cafes or campsites. No matter how far upstream you start your paddle, you can always make it out the harbour and onto the long beaches of Whitby and the Yorkshire Coast.

Do I need a waterways licence for this trip?

No, you do not need a licence to access this river, but we still advise it as it provides you with a great array of benefits that you can see on the British Canoeing website.

Bingley Ring

River Aire & Leeds Liverpool Canal – 3.8 miles

Be surprised by the picturesque industrial landscape of this section of the Aire Valley. Moving from the gentle flow of the River Aire to the still waters of the Leeds Liverpool canal, this trip is one of contrast.

Starting upstream of the Bingley Weir, you quickly come across the first obstacle. At the correct water levels, the weir is runnable for those paddlers daring enough, however we advise caution. You should inspect the weir before attempting to run it. If in any doubt please walk around the weir and hop back on the water just below it.Rise Docks leeds liverpool canal

Once past the weir the river narrows off, bringing nature closer to you. With overhanging trees, open park space, and islands, this trail begins to feel like a real adventure at home. You will come across numerous bridges and rocks that provide fun obstacles to paddle around and dodge. The last small section of light rapids are formed around a set of stepping stones, and reveal the grand view of the Seven Arches Aqueduct. Landing on a shingle beach before the aqueduct leads you to a short track onto the aqueduct, and the canal.

Following the Leeds Liverpool Canal upstream takes you on a tranquil paddle up towards the end of the route. This is a more direct route than the river brought you along. The only obstacle along this section of canal is the Dowley Gap Locks, which you easily walk around on the left hand side. From there you will notice the scenery become more industrial, signifying your approach to Bingley.

When you reach the extremely impressive sight of the Bingley Rise Locks, don’t panic. This marks the end of the trail, a short walk over the footbridge gets you back to the starting point. Luckily, the starting point is just next to a small local pub called the Brown Cow. Therefore, you can grab a refreshment, bite to eat, and head off to enjoy the rest of your day.

Do I need a waterways licence for this trip?

Yes. You require a licence to paddle on this river. A British Canoeing ‘On the Water’ membership includes a water licence that covers paddlers on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.