New facilities open up Norwich river for paddle boards and canoes

Paddle boarder on the Wensum in Norwich

New facilities at New Mills will make it easier for paddleboarders to enjoy the full length of the Wensum through Norwich. - Credit: Antony Kelly

Canoeists and paddle boarders can more easily enjoy the river through the centre of Norwich after the completion of new facilities. 
Until recently, the river sluice at New Mills was a block on further river adventures for people on canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards.
Now the paddling can continue on to Hellesdon upstream or downstream towards the River Yare, thanks to a new pontoon and canoe portage installed by the Broads Authority in partnership with Norwich City Council. 

New canoe and paddleboard pontoon installed at New Mills in Norwich

The new canoe and paddle board pontoon installed at New Mills in Norwich. - Credit: Broads Authority

The Victorian pump house and sluice gates, on the New Mills Bridge over the Wensum, date back to 1897, constructed for the then new Norwich sewage system. 
The sluice, part of this impressive example of Victorian architecture, is still used to manage water levels upstream of the structure. 
With no easy way around the sluice, it was the end point for most river trips. Although there were a set of concrete steps on the downstream side of the river, they were usually underwater and not accessible.

The River Wensum from Whitefriars bridge as temperatures go over 30C. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The River Wensum from Whitefriars Bridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

An upgraded canoe portage upstream and pontoon for canoes downstream, which was completed last month, now allow paddlers to safely remove their craft from the river and re-enter either side of the sluice.Among those who will benefit will be the Eagle Canoe Club, which is based at Anderson’s Meadow.

New canoe and paddle board facilities installed at New Mills in Norwich.

The new canoe and paddle board facilities installed at New Mills in Norwich. - Credit: Broads Authority

Broads Authority waterways and recreation officer, Lewis Treloar, said: “I’m really pleased that this partnership project has come to fruition to allow paddle craft users to continue their journey safely upstream or downstream of New Mills sluice.
“The collaborative work of the River Wensum Strategy Partnership, Norwich City Council and the Broads Authority has really paid off.”
He added paddlers using the area should “always wear a life jacket and remain vigilant of the fast-flowing water around the sluice”. 

The Victorian pump house and sluice gates at New Mills in Norwich.

The Victorian pump house and sluice gates at New Mills in Norwich. - Credit: Simon Finlay

Mike Stonard, chairman of the River Wensum Strategy Partnership, said: “This is another example of the success collaborative working can lead to.
“This will drastically improve usability for canoeists and kayakers, hopefully encouraging more people to get involved and make fuller use of the river.
“The partnership will continue to deliver further improvements over the coming months and years.”


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