We set out from Barford Bridge early in the morning and quickly noted how shallow the river was in parts which created some fast currents, especially at the put in.
As we travelled along down to the first weir, Hampton Lucy, we were met by a farmer (with a shot gun) and his two dogs. Suffice to say he was a very genial chap who commented on what a nice day it was for canoeing. We made for a speedy paddle once out of sight once we’d left him behind!
The weir at Hampton Lucy provided no difficulties for us and we easily managed to drag the canoe out and put it back in the river on the other side.
As we paddled steadily down the Avon we were accompanied by what seemed to be a myriad of swans, every time we appeared to leave one or two behind we bumped into another group.
We quickly came upon Charlecote Park, who we had emailed prior to the trip to seek permission to paddle through ‘their’ section of river but to which we had not yet received a response so we therefore carried on with the knowledge that the National Trust were positive about canoeing (or so states their guiding principles on their website) and with some careful navigating we cleared the deer booms without any problems and were then able to paddle past the stunning river side country estate that sits right on top of the river itself.
Other than the sound of water pumps draining water from the Avon to provide farmers with water for their crops we enjoyed absolute peace and quiet, and other than the farmer who we saw earlier our only onlookers were the local wildlife, sheep, swans, cows, swans, herons, swan…A quite remarkable achievement considering we were only a few miles from some major town centres.
Alveston weir provided a nice resting place where we enviously looked on at some of the country piles which back onto the river. I definitely need to play the lottery more often!
The remainder of the trip to Stratford was just as delightful as the uncharacteristic sunny weather began to heat up even more as the mid-day came upon us. Thanks to Andy for his company and the biscuits! The paddle was a good run-in for the Doggy Paddle which will soon be upon us.
PS: Charlecote Park replied to our email after our paddle to state that we could not access their section of the river due to the deer boom across the river? Ooops!