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News article created on 27 May 2015

New trail to bring canoeists into the heart of Leicester

We've created a canoe trail to encourage paddlers of all ages to get out onto the River Soar in Leicestershire.

The 27-mile trail runs from Trent Lock, near Long Eaton, to Narborough. We worked with British Canoeing to create the trail. The launch coincides with National Go Canoeing Week – a week-long celebration of canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding aimed at encouraging people of all abilities to get out onto the water.

The project has involved a range of access improvements on the river such as special platforms making it easier for canoes to be lowered into the water. In addition new signs have been put up along the route showing canoeists where to enter, and get out of, the water.

£12,000 project

Alongside the physical improvements a downloadable canoe trail is also being developed as part of the project. The trail will give canoeists practical information about the route such as how to negotiate locks and specific river conditions to look out for as well as details of local shops, pubs and cafes and historical information.

The £12,000 project has been funded largely through donations to the Trust from members of the public. More and more people are canoeing on the nation’s waterways as a means of staying fit, getting closer to nature and taking a different perspective of where they live.  

There are many attractions to paddling on the Soar such as the mix of rural and Victorian industrial landscapes and many backwaters which provide opportunities to park and paddle around a loop of canal and backwater.

Completely different perspective

Andy Oughton, a member of the Trust’s Central Shires waterway partnership said; “There’s something very special about canoeing on the River Soar, it’s a great opportunity to see Leicester from a completely different perspective. This trail will enable more people to do just that – making it easier and more appealing for them to head into the city and beyond.

“Canoeing is growing in popularity and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Hopefully this trail will encourage more people to have a go and also entice existing groups into the city which is also great news for waterside businesses such as pubs and shops. This is a really positive step for Leicestershire and we’re very grateful for the donations that have made it possible.” 

Chris Page, British Canoeing’s Waterways & Environment Manager for Central England said, “Canoeing is a great way for people to enjoy our historic waterways, and the River Soar is a great example of this. The route of the trail will provide opportunities for paddlers of all abilities to discovery a huge variety of landscapes and heritage attractions.

“Our thanks go to the Canal & River Trust for helping promote canoeing through this trail and we look forward to working with the Central Shires waterways partnership on future initiatives.

The first section of the River Soar Canoe Trail, in Barrow on Soar, can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/gocanoeing_soartrail