Guest page, by Mark Baigent.
I have been a canoeist for many years, paddling canoes and kayaks all over the country. The Chelmer and Blackwater is one of my favourite rivers. The Chelmsford end is a tad noisy as it starts in the town and passes under the A12 but once into the country the river is a joy to paddle, surprisingly very rural for Essex. There is a map of the river at the botton of the page.
The river is packed with wildlife and I have seen mink, water voles, swans and a variety of ducks but the constant surprise to me is the huge amount of fish from fry to large Pike. The history of the river is interesting and the locks provide interest, leg stretching breaks and a little bumpy water, there is a horse bridge near Rushes loch and the pretty church at Ulting is on the waters edge.
Papermill lock is approx halfway along the river/canal/navigation and offers wonderful food, especially Vanessa’s cakes, it is a nice place to take a break.
The stretch from Papermill lock to Heybridge basin is my favourite, and once away from Papermill lock you will see very, very few people or other boats. Heybridge basin is an interesting place with it’s sea lock and coastal position, it even offers a couple of pubs.
All in all the Chelmer and Blackwater is a wonderful place to paddle and I highly recommend it.
Oh, the portages are easy.
All photos are copyright © Mark Baigent.
More photographs at my website