Places we go, things we do, kit we use.

Places we go, things we do #2

Iford Bridge to Mudeford Quay - River Stour and Christchurch Harbour.

Launch spot

Distance - 4 miles ish

Time - 2 hours to all day

This is a short and easy but very satisfying trip for all sorts of craft - SUPS, kayaks but yesterday we did it in open canoes, mainly so we could take the dog along.

Some canoe trips can feel like a lot of faff for little return when long portages and shuttles are involved but not this one; launching at Iford Bridge is easy as parking is available at the water's edge and egress at Mudeford Quay is on the public slipway, again with vehicle access. Launching at or just after HW Tuckton works well as the current and then the turning tide carry you along the very pretty river, down past Christchurch Quay and out across the harbour where the scenery changes to reed beds and marsh, past Hengistbury Head and down to Mudeford Quay - on the left hand side of the gap called the Run as you're looking at it. The right hand (western) side of the Run is Mudeford Spit with all the expensive beach huts.

Landing is perfectly possible here too but there's no vehicular access so you'd need a portage trolley to trundle your boat back up to Hengistbury Head car park - or just wait for the tide to paddle back up of course. There are lots of other options too - both sides have cycle routes so the shuttle can be done by bike or even catch the ferry back to Christchurch and walk up to Iford. There are plenty of facilities on the way; toilets, tea and ice cream or cake at Christchurch, Wick and Mudeford and the trip can take as little as two hours or be stretched over a day with a circumnavigation of the Loop past Christchurch Castle on the Avon. The Stour has lots of sheltered spots for practising skills and if the wind is right, sailing across the harbour is a fun, clear run.

Kit we used:

Hou Prospectors…

Palm Atom bib salopettes, perfect for spring and autumn paddling when the air can be warm but the water chilly