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Broads launch camping canoe trails

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:37 01 August 2010

A VISION of paddling your own canoe into a Broads sunset and camping overnight in the great outdoors has finally become reality.

Two members of the Broads Canoe Hire Network Association have launched camping canoe trails this season and the seven other centres are set to go live next year.

A VISION of paddling your own canoe into a Broads sunset and camping overnight in the great outdoors has finally become reality.

Two members of the Broads Canoe Hire Network Association have launched camping canoe trails this season and the seven other centres are set to go live next year.

Bungay, Geldeston and Burgh St Peter are among the venues canoes can be hired from, and Tony Urwin, of Bank Dayboats at Wayford Bridge, chairman of the network, said there had been a huge demand for canoe camping.

Since they tested the water this year 16 parties had taken canoes for two or three-day expeditions.

One party towed two canoes behind filled with rations while others headed for accommodation near riverside pubs, and another had embarked on a 50km charity paddle from Wayford Bridge to Hickling.

Canoeists can head for existing camp sites such as at Oby and Clippesby Hall, or camp rough at Salhouse Broad or on river banks where the permission of the landowners has been sought.

For a one-way expedition the hirer will collect the canoe for a small extra fee.

Canoeing on the Broads has proved “a massive success” with 250,000 people paddling the quiet waters since the network began six years ago in canoes part-funded by the Broads Authority's Sustainable Development Fund, LEADER+ and Community Chest.

“Canoeing is such a wonderful way to enjoy the tranquility and wildness of the Broads and get close to the wildlife,” said Mr Irwin.

“In a canoe you will hear an otter before you even see it. Then you can sit quietly and wait to see it. In a big boat you wouldn't hear it and you'd miss it.”

The canoe hire network, the idea of the Broads Authority, started with six centres throughout the northern and southern rivers and has grown to nine this year.

Two new outlets, Whispering Reeds at Hickling and Martham Boats has extended the opportunity to canoe on the Upper Thurne.

Canadian canoes hold three people and cost £30 for a day, £20 for half a day or £35 for 24 hours. Buoyancy aids and waterproof sacks are provided.

Locally, canoes can be hired from: Bungay, Outney Meadow Caravan Park, (01986 892338), Burgh St Peter, Waveney River Centre, (01502 677343), Geldeston, Rowan Craft, (01508 518208).

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