Spring Padding: 5 places to get in the water

Spring Padding: 5 places to get in the water

We know paddling all year round isn’t for everyone, but now spring has well and truly sprung, you’ve got no excuses for not being on the water. You need a little Spring Paddling.

If you’re feeling like you need a little nudge to get back on the water, we’ve got just the thing. Check out these spring paddling trails and head out on an adventure somewhere new!

1. River Soar – Leicestershire

A picturesque paddle along the River Soar via paddle board.

Start and finish: The Plough, Normanton-on-Soar, LE12 2HB
Route: Normanton on Soar to Stanford on Soar Canoe Trail
Duration:
1-2 hours
Distance:
4.3 miles
Nearest town:
Loughborough 
Find Trail: Search for Normanton on Soar in Paddle Trails here

A serene paddle along the picturesque Nottingham/Leicester border. Meander along the River Soar taking in open landscapes, abundant wildlife and the natural setting of the river.

What makes this such a great spring paddle? You will paddle through overgrown areas of the river, only accessible by paddle power. It’s a real opportunity to reconnect with nature and go on a little adventure!

A serene paddle along the picturesque Nottingham/Leicester border. Meander along the River Soar taking in open landscapes, abundant wildlife and the natural setting of the river.

What makes this such a great spring paddle? You will paddle through overgrown areas of the river, only accessible by paddle power. It’s a real opportunity to reconnect with nature and go on a little adventure!

2. London Legacy Loop – Limehouse Cut

Taking on the London Legacy Loop. Credit: Andrew Berry

Start and finish: Limehouse Basin, London E14 7JZ
Route: London Legacy Route
Duration:
1.5 -3 hours
Distance:
6.5 miles
Nearest town:
London

Paddle along the oldest canal in London to discover history both old and new. This challenge route takes you on a history through time from Victorian industrial heritage, looping at the site of the London 2012 games where Great Britain put on an epic display to win 65 medals in one of the greatest sporting summers on record. 

What makes this such a great spring paddle? There’s no denying that London looks great in the sunshine. If you paddle this loop, in just a few short miles you’ll see all the English capital has to offer. From urban wildlife, industrial history and modern triumphs, it’s a blooming great challenge in more ways than one!

3. Cromford Canal – Derbyshire

Father and son paddling on the Cromford Canal, late spring

Start and finish:  Cromford Wharf, Mill Lane, DE4 3RP
Route: Cromford Canal Heritage Canoe Trail
Duration:
1.5 -3 hours
Distance:
3 miles
Nearest town:
Cromford
Find Trail: Search for Cromford, Matlock in Paddle Trails here

Another trail for the history buffs, not many paddle spots can boast THIS much history in just 3 miles. The route takes you from the canal’s terminus at Cromford Wharf, up to the Leawood Pump House, built in 1849.

Why should you paddle this route in spring? The banks of the Cromford canal spring to life at this time of year, carpeting the banks in lush, green vegetation, daffodils and other seasonal flowers. During your paddle along this stretch you’ll also come across wildlife including damsel and dragonflies, herons, a variety of ducks and even the odd kingfisher if you’re lucky!

Another trail for the history buffs, not many paddle spots can boast THIS much history in just 3 miles. The route takes you from the canal’s terminus at Cromford Wharf, up to the Leawood Pump House, built in 1849.  

Why should you paddle this route in spring? The banks of the Cromford canal spring to life at this time of year, carpeting the banks in lush, green vegetation, daffodils and other seasonal flowers. During your paddle along this stretch you’ll also come across wildlife including damsel and dragonflies, herons, a variety of ducks and even the odd kingfisher if you’re lucky!

4. River Exe Loop – Exeter

River Exe, Exeter

Start and finish:  Haven Road, Exeter EX2 8DP
Route: River Exe and Exeter Ship Canal Loop 1: Exeter Quay to Salmonpool Canoe Trail
Duration:
1 hour
Distance:
2 miles
Nearest town:
Exeter
Find Trail: Search for Exeter in Paddle Trails here

Paddle straight through the heart of the thriving city of Exeter, taking in views of the popular River Exe.

Why should you paddle this route in spring? The city, like most English cities in spring, awakens to a fresh horizon, with flora and fauna popping up after a bleak few months, in the most unexpected places. Paddle the old shipping canal and see what wildlife you can discover!

5. Windermere – The Lake District

paddle trails for spring
Lake Windermere with Kayakers Gavin Hart and Pete King, Lake Windermere, Cumbria

Start: Fell Foot Park, Cumbria LA12 8NN
Finish: Waterhead Car Park, South Lakeland, LA22 0GS
Route: Windermere Challenge
Duration:
2 – 4 hour
Distance:
11 miles

The longest paddle in the series, the Windermere route should be on your list to paddle this spring for loads of different reasons. This route is part of the three lakes challenge route, which sees the longest lakes in England, Scotland and Wales strung together to create the ultimate 24 hour challenge. 

Why should you paddle this route in spring? This route takes on a whole new perspective when you take it at a leisurely pace and take a moment to absorb the stunning views of the Lake District from the water.

For more details on these spring paddling trails and more, use our Paddling Trails search feature!