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Making Waves

Water Sports in Somerset and Exmoor

The full spectrum of water sports can be enjoyed in Somerset and Exmoor. Whether your preference is for canoeing, wind surfing, kayaking, rafting, sailing or paddle boarding there is a stretch of coastline, lake, river or canal for you to explore.

Whatever your ability or level of interest you will find something to suit your taste. From a leisurely paddle in a hired kayak at Wimbleball Lake or learning to sail at Cheddar Reservoir, to testing your canoe skills on the East Lyn or leaping off a cliff into the sea with your mates, it is all possible. Discover more here about what you can do, where to go and who is doing it.

Wimbleball Lake

Surrounded by the beautiful heather moorland landscape of Exmoor National Park, visitors to Wimbleball Lake can canoe, kayak, paddle board, sail or wind surf.

Just visit the website, click on the Activities section and choose which water sport you want to do. Head down the page to find out about hire, the cost of launching your own vessel, instructor led sessions and training courses being run. Towards the bottom of each page are direct links to hiring specific kayaks, canoes, boats etc at Wimbleball Lake.

Hiring couldn’t be easier and you can book online in advance and even see how many vessels are available. You don’t need any experience to hire kayaks (single or double ones) and canoes and paddle boards. To hire the Pico or Stratos sailing boats, RYA Stage 2 or Level 1 is required. Wind surfers require RYA Stage 2 or Start Windsurfing levels. Wet suits, buoyancy aids and helmets are included in all prices.

Cheddar Reservoir & Chew Valley Lake

Bristol Water lease lake water sports activity at Chedder Reservoir to Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club. The club offers a range of taster sessions and training courses with qualified dinghy, windsurfing or powerboat instructors.

Bristol Water also lease water sports at Chew Valley to Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club. The club is a membership only club that runs a calendar of sailing and powerboat training courses and open events.

The Coast

Somerset and Exmoor’s coastline offers perfect opportunities to launch your own or join a group activity. When the winds and waves are right wind surfers and surfers head to beaches at Minehead, or Burnham-on-Sea, Berrow or Brean. The Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world, and so it is important that you check tide times and local conditions.

A number of adventure companies, highlighted below, offer group sea kayaking, rafting and coasteering experiences. Unless highly experienced with expert knowledge of local currents, these coastal activities should only be undertaken as part of groups with qualified instructors. Throughout the year, companies like Channel Adventure run taster sessions for people wishing to experience kayaking, paddle boarding and rafting at sea from Minehead Harbour.

Rivers & Canals

Go Canoeing describes the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal as one of England’s best kept secrets. The Canal was opened in 1827 and links the River Parrett to the River Tone, and traverses through some of the best Somerset Levels and Moors landscape. A license is required to paddle. More information on routes can be found at the Go Canoe website, or as a downloadable pdf.

There are a number of rivers to explore across Somerset and Exmoor, from the more technically challenging rivers of the Barle and East Lyn, to the more tranquil ones of the Tone, Parrett, Brue, Kings Sedgemoor Drain and Cary. All rivers require a license to paddle. Access for canoeing on the Rivers Barle and East Lyn are only allowed between 1 October and 31 March when water levels are high enough. More information on all rivers can be found on the links below.

Canal and River Trust
British Canoeing
Exmoor Canoe Club
Canoeing on Exmoor
River Barle Canoe Code

Adventure Companies

A good way to take up a new activity or hone your already developed skills is to book up a session with a local adventure company. Visit Somerset and Visit Exmoor have teamed up with three companies – Exmoor Adventure, Channel Adventure and Mendip Outdoor Pursuits

All companies offer a diverse range of water and land based activities for individuals and groups. For water sports this includes coasteering, kayaking, canoeing and rafting. Each company uses qualified instructors, are fully licensed and follow the highest standards in safety. Each offers slightly different half day, full day or overnight activity adventure options.

So whether you are looking to try something new, take a skills course, want to set something up for a family group, stag or hen party, your work team or just a group of friends these companies will be able to design a truly bespoke memorable adventure for you.

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