The Cotswold Canals have already become a very popular waterway for canoeing and kayaking.
We are delighted that the Stroud Valleys Canoe Club already has regular training sessions on the canal and many other visiting canoeists and kayakers are attracted this new and interesting stretch of water.
Each year we receive an increasing number of enquiries and we welcome canoes to our waterways and are happy to provide a few frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the canal.
Do I need to buy a licence for SVCC’s waterways?
No – at the moment you do not need to buy a licence but this is likely to change in 2023 when we hope to have completed the restoration of the canal to join the national network at which point we will be instigating a licensing system along similar lines to the Canal and River Trust.
Do I need insurance for me and my boat?
Yes. You and your boat should be insured for your safety and that of your vessel and Stroud Valley Canal Company accepts no liability for you or your equipment and your visits are entirely at your own risk.
Can I easily get round locks?
Yes. As part of the design during the restoration process, a unique landing stage design was adopted which has a two-height structure – one for boats and one for canoes. These landing stages are situated adjacent to, or close by, all the locks on the navigation and from Ocean in the west to Hope Mill in the east, every lock which is navigable will have suitable landing stages for canoeists to use.
Canoeing and the environment
The diverse natural environment of our canals and rivers is one of the reasons they are such special places to canoe. Take to the water and you’ll get right up close to some of the country’s finest and rarest wildlife.
We want future generations of paddlers to enjoy the same experience that you enjoy at the moment. The ability to canoe along peaceful corridors of water, rich with flora and fauna.
We’re asking you to follow a few simple steps to make sure that you don’t accidentally disturb and waterway wildlife.
Launching and Landing
Our canal and river banks are home to some of the country’s rarest wildlife, including the endangered water vole. Please don’t ‘seal’ launch or drag boats into the canal as it can damage the bank. Float your canoe for launching, lift out when landing and carry it to and from the water.
On the water
When you’re on a river, please avoid paddling over gravel banks in low water conditions – they may contain fish spawn.
Try to keep as quiet as possible. By keeping any noise you make to a minimum you’re bound to see more wildlife.
Constantly assess the wildlife around you. If you see signs of disturbance, move away quietly.
After your paddle
Our waterways are home to many invasive species and we need to stop them spreading wherever possible. When you’re out and about on the water your boat and clothing can pick up fragments of plants and tiny creatures that we don’t want in another stretch of canal or river.
When you’ve finished your paddle please make sure to thoroughly clean all of your equipment and clothing. You’ll save us time and money battling invasive species, meaning we can spend more on making our canals and rivers even better places to be.
SVCC is pleased to have assisted in the design and development of the special canoe friendly landing stages. The first one was installed in 2016 and, following successful trials, the design is being rolled out along the canal where landing stages are required. The stages have two levels and a gentle slope which makes it much easier for the canoeist to enter and leave the water. Plans of the landing stages can be viewed here and here