River Yare kayak tour gives unique perspective on natural world
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A new guided kayak trail along the River Yare aims to get people outdoors and active while also allowing them to explore the natural world from a completely unique perspective.
Run by the Active in Nature project in conjunction with Sport England and the RSPB, the six mile journey starts and ends at Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve near Brundall.
Martin Rendle, head of the Active in Nature project, said the first guided trip open to the public would take place on July 16 and from then on until September 30. This week a group of invited guests and media were taken along the route in four two-man kayaks. The first part of the trip involves a walk through the wildlife rich Strumpshaw Fen reserve. Once on the water, the trail follows the River Yare towards Norwich before branching off onto the Surlingham and Rockland Broads. From there the group paddled a series of narrow waterways inaccessible to boats surrounded by reeds and trees before heading back to the start. The journey took approximately two hours 25 minutes to complete.
'The idea behind the project is to get more people active in non-traditional sports like hiking and kayaking,' said Mr Rendle. 'There are lots of benefits to getting people out and about in nature. It helps fight issues such as obesity, depression and diabetes.'
He said the trip, which costs £35 for adults, was open to anyone from age 10 and up. 'We use sit-in kayaks and they are stable and easy to paddle so no previous experience is needed. Using kayaks is a little more exciting for this kind of trip as they allow you to travel further and faster.'
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The London Kayak Company, which runs kayak trips down the River Thames in London, is also involved in the project. The company's Harry Wheelan said they were using the same kayaks for the River Yare trail. 'They are very safe and we've had few problems with them in the past,' he said. 'Kayaking really does allow you to explore things from a different perspective.'
Travel writer James Lowen from Norwich said it had been a great experience. 'This was my first time on the water and in a kayak in 25 years. It was harder work than expected but was great to see all the wildlife about. I felt quite privileged when we were paddling some of those backwaters.' Booking is essential and for more information phone 01603 715191.
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Enjoying nature at its best
In addition to the kayak trip, Strumpshaw Fen boasts three fantastic walking trails of varying distances. The Fen Trail, a relaxing 3.8km walk through reed beds and alongside pools takes approximately 1.5 hours. The tower hide offers some stunning views and here you can keep a look out for marsh harriers, bitterns and other reed bed birds. The Meadow Trail, which is open in spring and summer only and is the shortest of the three, takes just 30 minutes to complete and measures half a kilometre. It's a good walk to take if you want to see the wild orchids and rare swallowtail butterflies. The Woodland trail takes approximately an hour and is about 1.8km long. Look out for stoats and Chinese water deer while admiring the carpets of bluebells in spring. The reserve is located near Brundall and offers something for the whole family, including pond dipping or simply relaxing and enjoying a picnic. RSPB Buckenham Marshes nature reserve is also a short walk away.