Explore Suffolk in a canoe

Explore Suffolk in a canoe

Our dog-friendly, Suffolk-based, 19th century Dutch sailing barges may be static on their respective rivers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take to the water to see Suffolk!

The River Alde

Sunrise on the beautiful River Alde

The River Alde – © Copyright Roger Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

When you’re staying with Woodfarm Barges, think of your accommodation as a static luxury holiday cottage on a stunning waterway. You get all the benefits of a relaxing river stay, without requiring any experience in sailing – simply hop aboard via the gangplank and you’re set!

If, however, you would like to try your hand at navigating a Suffolk river, head to the nearby Iken Canoe hire for canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Just a four-minute drive away from our Onderneming barge and 20 minutes away from Twee Gebroeders, Iken Canoe is situated at Iken Cliff, a stunning location in the Alde Estuary.

Iken Cliff

Iken Cliff was once a bustling trade passage

View from Iken Cliff – © Copyright Dave Thompson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Iken Cliff used to see a host of activity in the form of trade barges transporting corn into London. Now, however, things are much quieter, making it the perfect place to set off on a journey to explore the river in all its natural beauty.

Canoe hire in Suffolk

Are you an avid watersports participant? Or perhaps you’re just looking for a relaxing glide down the river. Either way, Iken Canoe can kit you out with everything you need to enjoy this unique method of discovering Suffolk.

As their name suggests, Iken Canoe offer easy-to-paddle Canadian canoes, which are suitable for most abilities. They also offer kayaks for the more adventurous of visitors, stand-up paddleboards for the well-balanced, and katakunas, which are catamaran-canoe hybrids that can take up to six people. So whether you’re travelling with family or friends, or you just want to head out for a quiet sail with your partner, Iken Canoe is the place to go.

With your canoe hire, you’ll also be given a buoyancy aid, paddles and a dry bag for expensive gear like phones and cameras – after all that last thing you’d want is for that pretty river sunset selfie to end up at the bottom of the Alde! Iken Canoe will brief you on safety precautions before your journey, and they can also give you plenty of advice on the best spots along the river.

Canoeing in Suffolk on the River Alde

The River Alde stretches from a tiny stream in the ancient village of Laxfield, past Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh, and eventually turns into the River Ore as it reaches Orford and flows out to the North Sea. Although it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll sail the whole thing in a canoe, there is plenty to see in the parts of the river which are more accessible.

This part of Suffolk is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along your journey, you’ll see many different types of wildlife that rarely pop up in other parts of the county. For example, did you know that you can see seals along the River Alde? The common seal can sometimes be found lazing on the mud flats in this area – and they’re not hard to spot! Being at the top of the food chain in Suffolk rivers, seals have little to fear and have been known to indulge their curiosities upon seeing boats and canoes by swimming right up to the vessels. There was even an instance on the River Deben where a seal decided to hop onto a rowing boat for a leisurely trip upstream.

Common Seal

You might see one of these along your journey!

Common seal – © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Birds are by far one of the most common types of animals you’ll see on your canoe trip. However, these aren’t any old birds; keep an eye out for avocets (black and white with long legs and bills), marsh harriers (medium-sized, brown birds of prey), curlews (brown with long, down-curved bills) and more.

If you have great eyesight or even hearing, you may be able to spot an otter nearby. Listen out for a subtle splash as otters slip into the water from the riverbanks, or look out for their footprints in the mud to get an idea of where these happy semi-aquatic mammals might appear. Unlike seals, otters don’t really like to be seen and take advantage of their ability for stealth, so you have to be on high alert if you want to spot one!

Stay with Woodfarm Barges while you explore Suffolk

Woodfarm Barges is the perfect location for your Suffolk holiday. Whether you adore active holidays and want to get out on the river with Iken Canoe right away, or you just like sitting back and admiring the scenery, book one of our luxury, dog-friendly barges and stay in the best location for access to rural Suffolk activities.