We are an official Delivery Partner for British Canoeing and have been awarded their Quality Mark – a testament to the quality of our staff, equipment and operating procedures. Our longest running and most popular services include:
Guided canoe & kayak trips on the River Mersey and the Bridgewater Canal.
A Guided Trip is run by a River Leader and River Assistants who accompany you on the water for your comfort and safety. They help you launch and get the boats off the river. They provide help if you have a capsize or have problems steering. We offer canoes, rafted canoes, and Sit on Top Kayaks on these trips. You also are given paddles, bouyancy aids and (if appropriate) a helmet.
THERE IS NO TRANSPORT PROVIDED - DETAILS BELOW
There is a choice of trip lengths.
No experience is necessary. There is a minimum age of 5
Kayak and canoe hire on the River Mersey and Bridgewater canal.
Hire trips are not accompanied by our staff - you should have some experience and assume all responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your group whilst on the trip. We provide the equipment, a safety briefing and then meet you at the get off point to collect the equipment from you.
On the river we only hire out Sit on Top kayaks and rafted canoes but not canoes. On the canal we can hire out canoes as well. You receive, paddle, bouyancy aid and helmet.
There is no transport included. - details below.
There is a minimum age of 5
How many people do we need to book?
Individual/couples/smaller groups. – Click on the booking links above to see which dates and time slots are available. These are ‘Open trips’ and there is no minimum number of bookings, so you can come by yourself. But be aware that we do not run these if there is only one person booked on the trip. You may not get your pick of date and time.
Group Booking (6 or more) Follow the link to the booking site to see what dates and times our trips are going ahead. Book onto the advertised trips. If there are not enough places left on the trip for your group then get in touch and we may be able to increase the slots.
Group booking (6 or more) for a different date? We may be able to organise a River or canal trip for your group on any day you request. Get in touch to discuss.
What experience is needed?
No experience is needed for any of these trips, the river is grade 1 with a few easy Grade 1-2 rapids. We regularly take adults and children who have never been in a boat and who may not be able to swim. Capsizing is rare and the river is shallow and slow flowing usually. Everyone wears a buoyancy aid, helmets* and our River Leaders hold national qualifications and are experienced.
Groups are given a quick brief on how to paddle before they launch and then we drift along for a bit whilst paddlers get the hang of it. For very large groups or nervous groups we raft the canoes together to make them impossible to capsize and easier to steer.
*Paddleability *– British Canoeing have accredited us as Paddlesport Providers for people with disabilities (Paddleability Provider). Some of our trips, equipment and venues are suitable. Please contact us to discuss your needs
Types of boat?
For an explanation of the types of boat we can use please see further down on this page.
Transport - Important note:
We do not provide transport to get you from the Get Off point back to the start. Most groups leave a car at the get off point before coming to the start.
How this works: Everyone in your group meets at the get off point, gets changed and leaves their change of clothes in some cars at that car park. They all car-share to the get on point (normally our centre in Heaton Mersey) Remember to bring the car keys for the cars left at the get off. Also bring your waterproof coat and trousers, even on a sunny day)
* Book a taxi/minibus taxi to meet you at the end point - remember to bring towels and bin bags to sit on as they may refuse to take you if you are wet. We can bring your change of clothes to the get off point. * You book our ‘Metrolink Paddle’ to Jackson’s Boat Pub as this has Metrolink stations at both the start (East Didsbury Station) and end (Sale Waterpark). * You come on your own bike and we bring your bike to the Get Off point on our canoe trailer. You must bring a lock and the bike remains your responsibility whilst locked to our canoe trailer. * You book our ‘Metrolink Paddle’ and then hire bikes from The Bike Barn at Jackson Boat Pub and cycle back to our base. The bikes can be picked up by the Bike Barn for a small charge. Please check that both bikes and trip is available beforehand.
Which river or canal trip should I pick?
River Mersey canoe & kayak trips.
The rivers Goyt and Tame meet in Stockport and form the Mersey. From here the Mersey flows 28km through a long green space corridor that joins multiple Nature Parks and Reserves before it empties into the Manchester Ship Canal at Carrington. The Mersey Canoe Trail was the first National Canoe Trail in the UK. We run trips on all these sections.
The Short Splash
Venture Out Base to Northenden 6km / 1 hour 30 minutes on water/ 2.5 hours total (approx. times)
Our shortest and most popular trip, and with good reason: the first kilometre has a few shallow rapids and bends to be negotiated, before a chilled out, straighter middle and then a 4m waterslide to finish with a splash! Short enough to be manageable by children.
Meet: Our centre at Burnage Rugby Club SK4 3EA Get off point: Riverside Park, Northenden M22 4HJ
The Metrolink Paddle (aka Paddle & a Pint)
Venture Out River Base to Jackson’s Boat Pub, Sale. 11km / 2 hours 20 minutes on water, plus breaks / 3.5 hours total (approx. times)
For those with a bit more time on their hands and a few more ‘beans in the tank’. This trip allows participants to end at Jackson’s Boat Pub, for a pint, some food, the Metro back to our base or to hire bikes to cycle back. This is manageable for most groups, however, it can prove challenging for smaller children or those with limited patience.
Meet: Our centre at Burnage Rugby Club SK4 3EA Get off point: Jackson’s Boat Pub Car park, M33 2LX
The Full Mersey
Venture Out River Base to Trafford Metrovick Rugby Club, Sale. 15km / 3 hours on water, plus breaks / 5 hours total (approx. times)
Realistically, this is a full day paddle, is best done in canoes and is for those who have done some canoeing before. This 40 minute section beyond our Metrolink Paddle is worthwhile for those in search of a few easy rapids. We don’t advise this with children under the age of 12. Groups need to be fit and come well-prepared (clothing/food & drink)
Northenden to Jackson’s
We sometimes start at Northenden to allow groups from Northenden/Chorlton to run a shorter section and get off nearer their house or to combine it with Bike hire from the Bike Barn at Salewater Park. Prices available on request.
Reddish Country Park Visitor’s Centre to Venture Out River Base.
This tributary of the Mersey has a very different nature than the Mersey, requires boats to be carried around a waterfall, has a few small weirs that are fun to run, and there is the unforgettable 500m tunnel under Stockport.
The historic Bridgewater Canal was the first canal in Britain (1761) and is another fantastic green resource in Greater Manchester. We normally start our Guided or Hire trips at a venue in Sale and then journey towards Castlefield in Manchester or towards Dunham Massey for a ‘greener’ trip. We have used this a 1 day Charity Challenge and as a 2 day camping expedition.
Other Rivers & Expeditions & Duke of Edinburgh
Other rivers that we run canoe trips on request have been: Weaver Navigation, River Dee (Llangollen and Chester sections), Severn, Wye, Lune (Cumbria), Derwent (Matlock). Some of these are 2 to 4 day trips where we camp along the way. We have also run some of these are Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions. For overseas expeditions to the Alps/Slovenia/Pyrenees please contact Kevin.
3 Seats for two adults and small child or for 3 children (U-13)
Cannot be hired out on river due to problems rescuing these if they capsize.
2 canoes secured together with wooden spar.
Impossible to capsize. Team craft for up to 6 adults.
Sit-on-Top kayak (SOT kayak)
Wide, stable craft which is very difficult to capsize and easy to rescue. No possibility of entrapment.
Double SOT kayak
Two person craft for up to 2 medium size adults. Faster and straight running. Easier for going longer distances
2 small adults or 1 adult and child.
Very stable and straight running. Has a cockpit but very unlikely to entrap if capsized.