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Frequently Asked Questions
When are you open for canoe hire?
River levels and weather permitting, from mid April to mid October. From 9am to 5pm, (although we offer early morning and evening paddles light permitting). We are open 7 days a week
Where can we hire a canoe from?
Currently we’re based in Grove Country Park Canterbury CT3 4BP. Click here for a map to Canoe Wild centre. But we also operate Group Tours to the River Medway and Royal Military canal
What does the hire charge cover?
Canoe, buoyancy aids, paddles, small drums for kit, dry barrels for kit, map and return transport.
Do we need to book?
Ideally it is best to use our easy online booking system so we can make sure we have a canoe ready and available for you. But you can just turn up and we should be able to provide you with a canoe, although we recommend you book at the weekends.
Do we need to give you a deposit?
You need to provide a totally refundable securities deposit of £100, returned on the safe return of our canoe and equipment. We will take a pre – authorisation on your bank card
If it is raining do we get a refund.
Refunds are issued if the river levels are too high or we can’t put you in a canoe on your chosen day. Our cancellation policy is here. Rain should not affect you trip however if you are really put off your adventure we would be happy to reschedule.
What should I wear?
It depends on the weather, but lightweight clothes and waterproofs are good. Layers are also a good idea, old trainers or something you don’t mind getting wet on your feet with a good grip. Jeans can get too heavy if wet. A change of clothes and footwear is recommended for afterwards, just in case! Please see our safety brief for details. All safety equipment will be provided
Should we take a phone?
By all means take your phone, but make sure it is wrapped up in a plastic bag (a sealable food bag is good) and then ideally placed in a Tupperware box or something similar. You can then put it in one of our barrels. Other valuables can go into the barrels too – they float in water! Some parts of the river are remove so a mobile would be useful ( please avoid its use on the river unless necessary).
Do I have to be able to swim?
No, our insurers have not stipulated this and the canoes are stable but ideally here must be ratio of at least 1:1 confident and non-confident swimmers in a canoe and please stick to the river do not enter the lakes. We provide a buoyancy aid for your size and these must be worn at all times in the canoe. When we run trips on wider bodies of water all participants should be able to swim.
What does your insurance cover?
Our insurance covers public liability, and the canoes and equipment while in your possession ( if you leave them and they are stolen you will lose your deposit)
How will I know if the river levels are too high to canoe?
The river Stour in Canterbury rarely gets too high to canoe during the months we hire canoes. It is unlikely to be too high during the season. However we will monitor the situation and let you know what is safe and options for canoeing.
Can we just go downstream or do we have to paddle back up the river?
We can collect you once you’ve finished your canoeing journey with our minibus and trailer. Just give us a call and we’ll come and get you. You can start in Grove Park or Fordwich and then we can pick you up at either location after you’ve had a pint or a spot of lunch at either of the very good pubs on the river.
Can we use public transport to get to your hire centre?
Fordwich has a train station (Sturry) just 5 minutes walk away and there are ample bus routes to and from the centre of Canterbury. We are also on the cycle path from Chartham to Canterbury to Sturry, so you can easily use your bike to get to us.
There is also a bus which goes to Upstreet on the A28 route 8 the bus stops in the village at the post office and just through the village at the top of Grove Ferry Hill thier is a bus stop for routes 8,8a & 8x then just walk 5 minutes down the hill over the railway crossing and access to the pub and park is on your left. http://www.stagecoachbus.com/timetables.aspx?serviceid=&locationId=0&from=upstreet&to=canterbury We also offer a pick up and drop off service from Canterbury.
Where can we park?
Parking is limited in Fordwich, but you can park in the car park of the George & Dragon pub in return for buying a pint or there is ample parking on Fordwich Rd just before you come into Fordwich and we are just over the bridge. For Grove we are located in the Park CT3 4BP parking is easy and priced at £1 per day weekdays and £1.50 per day at weekends.
Where can we have lunch?
You can get a hot drink and a piece of cake from us in the park. For a good bite to eat, then canoe to the Fordwich Arms or onto Grove Ferry Inn or take a picnic and stop at Fordwich or Grove Ferry.
How long does it take to canoe to the pub?
You should make it within 3 hours, so allow half a day to enjoy journey, pub and allowing time to transport you back again.
Do you hire kayaks?
We don’t as yet hire out the closed type canoes or kayaks. We hire Canadian open-top canoes which are very stable, easy to manoeuvre, ideal for beginners and you don’t get as wet! However soon we will hire sit on tops to take away for days out and holiday’s
Can you provide lessons in canoeing?
Of course, we would love to teach you valuable safety and canoe skills. You can also gain a BCU star award at level 1 and level 2 in our open-top canoes. We are in the process of developing the business for AALS licenced, please call us for more details.
Do you give us a safety briefing before we go on the water?
Yes, we will talk you through the route and stopping points and make sure you’re all kitted out for an enjoyable paddle. We’ll also show you how to steer and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Do you give any group discounts?
Yes, we can give discounts for schools and charities. We also regularly run promotions with our partners and through advertising. Please call us for more details.
Can I bring a dog?
Yes, as long as the dog is well behaved and no more than 20kg in weight. Total number of people and dogs in a canoe is 4, but hairy dogs get heavier when wet, so you must factor this in and also the stability of the canoe. They must have a lead, but not attached while in the boat, and never tied to a canoe either in or out of the water. Remember you are responsible for your dog at any location and should not let it cause any disturbance to wildlife, birds, fish or farm animals. Please keep your dog away from birds on the river and from splashing around shallow river areas to be sensitive to young fish and other wildlife.
Am I too big for a canoe?
As long as you’re not over 130kgs (about 20½ stone) you are able to travel in a canoe. Over this weight and the canoe becomes unstable. The maximum weight allowed in our canoes is 580kg, so with a maximum of 4 people in a canoe this is fine. Our largest buoyancy aid will fit a chest measurement up to 54 inches (137cm), so if you are over this you must provide your own properly fitted buoyancy aid or life jacket.
Do you have an age limit?
Not as such, but you everyone must be able to understand and follow instructions. If your child at the age of 4 is able to do so, then they will be allowed in a canoe. Your children are your responsibility at all times and safe children rely on competent parents! In addition, our buoyancy aids fit children with a chest size of at least 24 inches (64cm) and they must weigh at least 30kgs (4 ¾ stone) below that we have lifejackets. Always have your youngest children in the middle of the canoe.
Can we bring alcohol?
You can bring a small amount, but under no circumstances must it be consumed on the river while in our canoes, in our vehicles or on our premises. Any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to hire a canoe. There are of course some great pubs along the river, so why not keep the drink for the end of your journey.
Can I camp along the river?
If you manage to seek the landowner’s permission first and there is a safe landing area that won’t damage the bank or wildlife then please let us know! But we also know of some great campsites that aren’t too far away from the river and some B&B’s if you’d rather. Wild camping done badly can annoy landowners, fisherman, disturb wildlife and litter the countryside and present a fire risk. We’d rather you just booked a campsite – ask us, we have an accommodation and camping site list.