There’s so much to explore and enjoy at the Broads Outdoor Festival

Picture credit : Broads AuthorityA vision of paddling your own canoe into a Broads sunset and campin

Picture credit : Broads AuthorityA 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. - Credit: Archant

Enjoying a swan's eye view of the Broads is one of the joys of getting afloat in a canoe. Discovering the secret areas where the yachts and holiday boats can't venture is another.

Russell Wilson from the Broads Authority who has worked on new canoe trail guides around parts of th

Russell Wilson from the Broads Authority who has worked on new canoe trail guides around parts of the Norfolk Broads.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

What's more, we can all do it!

After only a few minutes' instruction, even the most uncoordinated person can paddle themselves from A to B, and relax enough to notice the peace and quiet and fish swimming in the clear water beneath their canoe.

There's a raft of canoeing activities over the festival, with have a go and organised trail opportunities.

Take out a three seat canoe for an hour for free during the Broads Canoe Hire Association's 'Free Canoeing Morning' on May 10 from 9am-noon at any of the member centres. They're at Bungay, Burgh St Peter, Geldeston, Hickling, Martham, Potter Heigham, Salhouse, Sutton Staithe, Wayford Bridge and Wroxham.

The Electric Eel at How Hill

The Electric Eel at How Hill - Credit: Archant

Visit www.canoethebroads.co.uk and www.enjoythebroads.com/boating/canoeing to find the centres and canoe trails.


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The association is also offering 20pc discount on canoe hire from their centres throughout the festival. Just present this Festival guide.

Join the Paddle A Broad on May 8 with a circular guided paddle around Barton Broad, several Paddle and Plod events, (canoeing and walking) and a dawn canoe trail at Strumpshaw Fen on May 18. See listings at the back of the guide for information.

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There are various canoe trails throughout the Broads of different lengths, with return routes of one, three and six hours.

Picture of swan on the Norfolk Broads near Wroxham.Photo: Angela SharpeCopy: For: ENEDP pics © 2006(

Picture of swan on the Norfolk Broads near Wroxham.Photo: Angela SharpeCopy: For: ENEDP pics © 2006(01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2006

• Visit www.enjoythebroads.com/info/maps-publications for trail details.Both novice and experienced canoeists are invited to join the Festival closing event, the Norfolk 3-60 Challenge, on May 18 involving a 40km cycle ride, 10 kilometre run and 10 kilometre paddle.

It can include teams of three, with one cycling, one running and all three paddling, or individuals can take on the entire challenge.

Raising money for local charities, the event is organised by Mark Wilkinson of The CanoeMan.

'It's to be more fun than serious,' says Mark, who is offering training days and tuition before the event.

It'll begin in Anderson's Meadow in Norwich, with a cycle route along Marriott's Way to Aylsham. There the run heads along the Bure Valley Path to Coltishall. The canoe is the final stretch, with a paddle to Wroxham.

The CanoeMan can supply canoes, has hire bikes and it will be fully marshalled.

'We feel Norfolk needs something like this,' he says.

Mark says canoeing on the Broads is incredibly rewarding.

'It can be very sheltered, you're not battling against a strong current and can escape the main routes and explore the parts not normally navigable by boat. It's so quiet and the water is gin clear, the fish are swimming around – it's beautiful.

'Canoeing is good for fitness training, and it's good for those people who are not particularly fit as it's not hard work. You can sit and float and watch the world go by,' he says.

n Help Katie Lawrence, from Festival sponsor Hoseasons, who is joining a team of 12 tackling the Seven Rivers Challenge, a Norwich to Wroxham canoe adventure to paddle seven rivers in three days, to raise money at www.justgiving.com/ 7riverschallenge.

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