Canoe through the beautiful Medway valley and take in amazing sightings of precious birdlife, wildlife and plantlife that adorn the riverbank. Spanning 29km, this canoe trail can be paddled in a couple of days at an easy pace, take your time to savour the peace and quiet, scents and sounds of the riverbank. There are several places to camp along the route too so there is no need to leave the riverbank behind even at night time!
The trail starts in Tonbridge, paddling past Tonbridge Castle boasting Kents finest example of a motte and Bailey Gatehouse and Tonbridge town bridge before reaching Tonbridge Lock. From Tonbridge the trail heads out into the countryside of the Medway Valley. Paddle past patchwork fields many of them wet meadows dotted with anthills. Lucky passers by may spot green woodpeckers feeding on ants! Barn owls are prevalent in the area at dusk, the rural setting an ideal habitat for food and shelter.
Eventually you will reach porters lock where you can use the fish friendly canoe pass or the portage platforms nearby. The River Medway is a popular fishing spot boasting over 21 species of freshwater fish. When paddling in Summer months you will see fish swimming near to the surface.
Look out for willow trees and herons before reaching Oak Weir where you may wish to camp for the night. If you are lucky you might spy an otter here too!
The trail passes by the Hop Farm – look out for dragonflies and damselflies amongst the riverbank vegetation. A little further on look out for a whole myriad of birds present on the riverbank alongside traditional orchards as you paddle past the disused Stoneham Old Lock.
Continue onwards to Yalding access point or divert to the Marlin Canoe Club campsite You will also pass through the woodlands of Teston passing through the lock that runs alongside Teston Park. Paddling down towards East Farleigh lock, the river widens out and upon reaching East Farleigh you pass through the arches of the East Farleigh bridge famous for the ‘Battle of East Farleigh Bridge’ that took place in 1648.
The trail then makes it’s way to Maidstone where the old and new effortlessly combine. Paddling alongside archbishops palace you will see the majestic beauty of this building as you make your towards Allington lock – next to the Malta Inn public house. This is where your trail ends and is also a great place to take in some liquid refreshment at the Malta House inn.
For updates on river conditions or camping opportunites please visit www.medwaycanoetrail.co.uk