CANOEING and KAYAKING
Canoeing and Kayaking are popular sports in South West England and with a wide range of lakes, canals, estuaries and rivers there are lots of opportunities to learn and improve. Canoe adventure companies know the very best local waters and will match your level of competency accordingly. Alternatively, multi-activity centres often include canoeing as an option and this can be a pleasant introduction to the sport.
Kayaks are good starter boats as they move easily through the water and are fairly easy to master. Shorter than traditional canoes, kayaks are paddled with double-ended paddles and the paddler is enclosed in the body of the boat from the waist down, creating a semi-submersible which is superb on white-water.
For white water thrills, look no further than the rivers of Dartmoor and Exmoor. The River Dart, in Devon, has developed a great reputation for the sport and has all the facilities to match. Exmoor has the Barle and the Exe - challenging by anybody's standards. Increasing in popularity are the longer, slender sea-kayaks, ideal for coastal paddling and exploring dramatic coves and inlets and accessing remote beaches.
In an 'Open' or 'Canadian' canoe, the paddlers sit on seats and work with single-bladed paddles. Though now built in modern materials, the design of open canoes has required few changes over the centuries. It can reach places, carry equipment and go with an ease other boats struggle to match.
Canoe Hire and Day Adventure Trips
Various sizes of canoe are available for hire in the South West and a day out canoeing with a group of friends can be an excellent way to explore remote rivers, estuaries and watering holes at your own pace.