River Cam

River Cam

LaunchesPublic RoutesKnown HazardsParking


Many waterways in England and Wales require a licence to paddle. Check the licence section below to see if this is one. Save money on your licence and secure paddling insurance by joining British Canoeing. Use our easy step RapidJoin process. Open the slider to join.

Welcome to PaddlePoints Waterways. These pages focus on individual bodies of water across the UK. On this page you'll find a map, launches, routes, licensing information, paddle trail downloads, services, and more about one particular river or canal. For the full PaddlePoints with search bar follow this link.

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River Licensing Information

License Authorities

Environment Agency
Cam Conservators

Further Information

Environment Agency below Bottisham Lock nr Clayhithe
Cam conservators: above Bottisham Lock to Mill Pit

The licence extends to individual ‘on the water’ members of British Canoeing only. (Members of clubs or paddlesport providers must make arrangements with the Cam Conservators directly to cover their vessels)

Paddlers must adhere to the Conservators’ by-laws and conditions of registration (see camconservancy.org) which include clearly displaying an identification number (British Canoeing membership number) on both sides of the craft at all times.

Paddlers must carry their British Canoeing membership card with them at all times and present if requested by a member of the Cam Conservancy.

Measuring 43 miles in length, the River Cam is a beautiful paddle on a sunny day. The River Cam is one of Cambridge’s most popular features with tourists and residents alike.

On a hot sunny day you will often see swathes of ‘punt’ boats occupying the river. As you paddle along you’ll also notice plenty of picnickers enjoying the sunshine on the river banks.

Unlike most towns, the river was actually named after the town. It is still known by its original name, the River Granta, further upstream. Further downstream it connects to the River Great Ouse where the river flows into the North Sea at King’s Lynn.

The biggest reason you’d probably want to paddle on the River Cam is to soak in the ornate beauty of the University town of Cambridge. The navigation downstream of Bottisham Lock is managed by the Environment Agency.

The section above, and including Mill Pit, is looked after by the Conservators of the River Cam. This section is the part that runs through the pretty town and is only open to manually propelled crafts (rowing boats, canoes, kayaks and such).

For the history buffs, the river features in many of the arts, including ‘The Reeve’s Tale’ from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The section along the river nicknamed Byron’s pool is where Lord Byron himself was said to take the occasional dip!

The Cam is one of the many waterways covered by a Paddle UK licensing arrangement. This means that Paddle UK ‘On the Water’ members are covered to paddle on the Cam. However they must display their membership number on both sides of their craft at all times and carry their membership card. For more details, visit www.camconservancy.org