This page contains suggested trips put ins take outs etc. Please feel free to add or amend.
HARWICH /SHOTLEY TO MISTLEY 6 hours
This is a very pleasant paddle with lots to see and beaches to explore. Look out for the Royal Hospital School on the north side and “A House for Essex” on the south side (Grayson Perry Ceramic Artist).
HAZARDS – Large shipping containers and Cross Channel Ferry – causing large and sudden sea swells. Large yachts in the main shipping channel.
Launch sites – Harwich to Mistley. Put in at Wellington Road Car Park Harwich, CO12 3DT ( W7WQ+6X Harwich). Car park takes £1 coins. There are public toilets very close by. Suggest 2 1/2 hours before HW. Be aware of confused water rounding the harbour. Keep to the left hand side whilst passing the harbour. Keep an eye out for the large shipping containers, the Shotley Ferry and the cross channel ferry, also lots of sailing boats. Once past the Channel Ferry Terminal its a relaxing paddle.
Alternatively put in at Shotley in the car park opposite the Bristol Hill Arms public House, Shotley Gate, Ipswich IP9 1PU ( X749+74 Ipswich ). Suggest 2 hours before HW. Look out for large sailing yachts and the Shotley ferry.
SHOTLEY TO ORWELL BRIDGE 5 hours
An industrial river with large ships going up the estuary. The Orwell Bridge is quite impressive from underneath and offers a place to sit and have your sandwiches. There are various stop off points along the way. Beyond the bridge the estuary becomes more industrial and commercial.
HAZARDS- Large ships transiting the estuary draw lots of water, sailing yachts also take caution over this hazard. Can cause a large or sudden swell. Yachts entering and exiting the Marina.
Launch site – Shotley Point Marina, Ipswich IP9 1QJ (Google Map ref X74G+XJ Ipswich) There is a car park and toilets. Put in over the rocks by the Harwich Harbour Foot Ferry.
There are many paddles to be had on this pretty estuary the main issues being where to launch from.
Common paddles with approximate times are: Bradwell to Osea Island (5 hours), (add an hour if circumnavigation Osea Island), Bradwell to Tollesbury (3 hours) Bradwell to Mersea Island (3 hours) (add 3 hours if circumnavigating Mersea Island) Bradwell to Sales Point (2 hours), Bradwell to Maylandsea (6 hours), Bradwell to Heybridge (6 hours).
HAZARDS – Each launch site has its own particular hazards, be it from other water users to mud at low tides and accessibility. However pay special attention to moored boats and their moorings. Also this estuary has lots of Oyster beds which are very sharp and will damage boats and hands. Once outside of the sheltered launch site the tidal conditions change quite dramatically. Make sure you check tide times for the appropriate launch site. This estuary is quite narrow the tidal current is very strong between Osea Island and St Lawrence. The middle of the estuary can become very rough in a blow.
Launch site – Bradwell Water side, Waterside Rd, Bradwell-on-Sea, Southminster CM0 7QU – (PVMP+MP Southminster) During the week vehicles can be left on the road, however weekends vehicles must use the Bradwell Marina Car Park. This car park takes coins. There are no public toilet facilities.
Mersea Island. West Mersea Yacht Club public jetty. Car Park 116 Coast Rd, West Mersea, Colchester CO5 8PB, (QVHX+MH Colchester) Pay and display car park. Toilet facilities. Local cafe. Launch off the jetty. Note this can be muddy at low tide. The jetty is very busy with sailors and local ferry.
Mersea Island Esplanade – Victoria Esplanade, West Mersea, Colchester CO5 8BH (QWFH+J9 Colchester) Toilet facilities. Pay and display car park. Launch on beach. Note very muddy at low tide.
Heybridge Basin – Park at Daisy Meadows car park, Lock Hill, Heybridge Basin, Maldon, CM94RP. Unload boats and walk them to Basin Rd, Heybridge Basin, Maldon CM9 4RS (PPH6+R3 Maldon). No public toilets, however, the local pubs are accommodating provided you give them custom ( buy a drink, packet of crips). Launch beside the Tea rooms down the concrete steps. Note there isn’t much beach before it turns into mud!
Maylandsea public slip way The Esplanade, Mayland, Maylandsea, Chelmsford CM3 6AL (MQQ2+7M Chelmsford) Only room for about two cars here. The local yatch club might give you grief but they don’t own the slip way. Toilet facilities in the local pub.
Tollesbury Woodrolfe Rd, Maldon CM9 8TB (QV52+GC Maldon) Put in on the bank by the old shed. Park up by the Scout Hut Tollesbury, Maldon CM9 8RY. Its about a 7 minute walk. (QR6V+3P Maldon). This is a pay and display car park with toilet facilities. Parking on the road by the launch point is liable to flooding. On no account go into the Marina. They have CCTV and will charge you for turning around on their property.
HEYBRIDGE LOOP (4 hours)
An easy and interesting paddle taking in river, canal and sea. There are several start points for this depending on direction chosen and tides.
Heybridge basin Daisy meadows (see above for map ref)
Beeliegh Falls (PMV7+JJ Maldon) Note the car park gates get locked quite early. No toilet facilities. See below.
From Heybridge – Launch into the canal, follow the canal to Beeliegh Falls (PMV7+JJ Maldon). (From Beeliegh Falls) -If water levels allow shoot the falls or carry your boat into the tidal side of the river. Paddle to Maldon, turn left at the end (passing the statue of Byrhtnoth) keeping the shore on your left hand side and get out at the concrete steps by the tea rooms (PPH6+R3 Maldon)
HAZARDS Other users on the canal (animal and human). Egress into the tidal estuary may be muddy/slippery. If shooting the weir, make sure there is enough water at the bottom. Around Maldon the river gets busy, so watch out for tidal wash from other boats and moorings along with submerged obstacles. The get out point can be awash at high tide and or very muddy at lower tides.
Bradwell to Burnham on Crouch – IN PROCESS OF BEING WORKED OUT
This is a one way trip approximately 7 hours, so you will need a shuttle, make sure you factor this in when working out your timings. HW Burnham on Crouch is Dover +1.15hr
Set off from Bradwell Waterside,Waterside Road, Bradwell-on-Sea, Southminster CM0 7QU – (PVMP+MP Southminster) about 3 hours after HT, come out of the marina and turn right east before the baffle wall following the coast out toward Sales Point, (marked by 7 large sunken barges which have a beacon either end. (Aprox 0.30 hr to this point 2nm (nautical miles)There is a very large sand bank here called St Peters Flats which extends approx 2nm off the coast line. Paddle approx 90deg from the end barge following the sand bank out. Once in line with St Peters Head Church on the shore (Approx 2nm or 0.30hr paddle) turn to a heading of 180deg. This is Ray Sand Channel Paddle for approx 3nm or 0.45hr. Buxey north cardinal should come into view approx 1nm off on your east side. Follow the channel to Ray Sand north beacon (approx 0.5nm or 7 mins) and then a further 0.5nm 0.7 minute paddle to Ray Sand Middle beacon. Note This beacon is on top of Buxey Sands sand bank, so you may have to wait for the tide to fill in. Have a cup of tea . Turn to a heading of approx 170 deg toward Buxey Sand No2 North cardinal . Once in the main channel follow the buoyage (approx 220deg). Your next major mark is the Crouch North Cardinal just off Foulness Island. You are now in the River Crouch, and keeping a course of 260/270deg follow the channel up. Burnham Yacht club is opposite Green can No.11 and Burnham Sailing club is opposite Green can No.15
Anglesea, North Wales
Read the guide book Welsh Sea Kayaking – fifty great sea kayak voyages by Jim Krawiecki & Andy Biggs
A good place to stay is Anglesey Outdoors, Porthdafarch Road, Holyhead, Anglesey, LL65 2LP http://www.angleseyoutdoors.com/
They have camping, glamping, yurts, pods, bunk house or private room. Excellent drying room, and a restaurant/pub which, whilst the service is slow, does do good food.