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Thread: 2-3 day circular route with a wild camp

  1. #1

    Post 2-3 day circular route with a wild camp

    Hi all,

    I am a pretty experienced paddler (Sea Kayak, Kayak, packrafting) and have enjoyed many multi day trips in Scotland and the East Coast, soon to embark a source to sea (Spey) trip - not trumpet blowing just to give some idea of ability

    However..........other than doing some evening paddling on the Nene I don't know much about England or Wales rivers/routes.

    I am looking to take out a novice for a couple of days with a wild camp in packrafts, but Scotland is too far. I like the idea of a trip around Edale - but I believe there are restrictions, where the BCU membership doesn't count??

    Any advice suggestions on 2-3 day route in (England or Wales) with maybe a little more excitement than totally flat water would be most welcome.

    many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010


    British Canoeing membership includes a licence to use most of the canals in England & Wales, but doesn't generally cover rivers or lakes. There's evidence of a public right of navigation on rivers, which is accepted by most paddlers but disputed by most anglers and has not been confirmed in court. See

    Wild camping is not generally legal in England & Wales but is usually tolerated, if done discreetly, in upland areas like the Lake District fells. Navigable rivers tend to flow though more developed country where landowners would tend to object, but if you arrive late and leave early you may not be noticed - but you would be trespassing, so would have to leave if asked to. Canals are an exception (I know you don't want flat water) and CRT seem to permit camping if you're on a canal journey (I'd look for places with limited access except from the water).

    I'm not sure the rivers round Edale are physically big enough for touring. For a circular route, rivers would do for half and you'd need a canal to return. Somewhere like the River Weaver in Cheshire might be worth considering.

    Sorry that's not what you want to hear, but it's the way it is. There's a possibility of some improvements as a spin off from post-Brexit farming subsidies but otherwise we need to elect a different government.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Yeah, the Derbyshire rivers aren't going to offer what you want, not from an access point of view really, just from the nature of the rivers. Small and shallow.

    In terms of "circular", I suspect you'll only find canals and slow rivers that can be linked to do that, assuming you're talking of floating it. If you want to travel for 2-3 days wild camping, its perfectly possible, but most stuff I've done has been linear rather than circular.

    Have a look on Paddle Points for ideas of smaller loops on the Nene and Ouse near you:

    However, I'm guessing you're thinking of a mixed walking and river trip? The trouble is, that most moving water is currently pretty much empty. So that does tend to leave you with the bigger slow moving rivers, or wait until it rains. I'm really struggling to think of any that I know would be likely to have water in without travelling a fair way, you probably need local knowledge.

    The Lake District could make an excellent Packraft/hillwalking destination, but it'll be lakes rather than rivers really.

    Maybe if you confirm that the circular bit means walking that bit, people might have ideas.

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