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Canoeing & Paddleboarding

The tranquil Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is popular with paddlers who want to get afloat using a canoe or paddleboard. Licence fees apply to all non-powered craft including dinghies and inflatables.

Perfect for Paddling

Canoeists and paddleboarders can drop in at any point along the Chelmer & Blackwater navigation, except next to locks and bridges. Licences for the Navigation need to be obtained from Essex Waterways. 

Licences cost £5 for a single day, and there are generous discounts for weekly, monthly and annual periods, and further discounts for multiple non powered craft registering together.  

Information for paddlers

Do I need a Licence?

Yes, you will need to get a licence with Essex Waterways. Day, week, monthly and annual licences are available.

Although the Upper Chelmer is mentioned in British Canoeing’s guide, this does not include the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.  

Where can I buy a Licence?

The easiest way is to buy your canoe licence online.

Licences can also be obtained from the lockkeeper at Heybridge Basin or from any of the residential caretakers at each of the main mooring sites or from Daisy Meadow Kiosk at Heybridge Basin.

Licence Fees

These licence fees apply to all non-powered craft including all canoes, dinghies, inflatables and paddleboards.

Annual – £35
One Week – £14
One Day – £5
Group Discounts: 5+ craft: 10%

Is anywhere off limits?

There is usually no objection to canoeists or paddleboarders using the backwaters, except at Hoe Mill and Rickett’s locks, which are particularly sensitive fishing areas. 

People must not pass through locks and should treat weirs and weir stream currents with care, and together with all boaters should be aware of the increased risks during periods of high water levels.

Canoe / Dinghy Storage

There is canoe, kayak or dinghy storage available for an annual charge of £80.00

For enquiries about canoe/kayak storage please contact the Heybridge Lockkeeper (for Heybridge Basin only) or Sarah Philips at or call 01245 226245.