Essex - River Crouch (tidal) - South Woodham Ferrer to Battlesbridge (& return)
How to get there - From Chelmsford take the A130 south for 8 miles, leaving at the junction signposted "Wickford & South Woodham Ferrers". take the first exit at the roundabout at the end of the sliproad onto the A138 and continue (third exit at the first roundabout) for 3 miles to South Woodham Ferrers. At the second roundabout take the third exit (Ferrers Road), following the brown signs for Marsh Farm Country Park. Continue for half a mile to the next roundabout and again take the third exit (Inchbonnie Road). Continue for another half mile and turn right into Marsh Farm Road. Continue to the end parking in the second car park which is right on the sea wall.
For those with SatNav a nearby postcode is CM3 5WP.
Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site - Launch from the slipway. If it looks particularly muddy consider using the slipway at the boat club which is right next door.
Description - This is a tidal river so to get maximum assistance you will need to launch on an incoming tide and return when the tide has turned. The river starts fairly wide and narrows as it meanders to Battlesbridge. The greatest tidal flow tends to be towards the outside of the bends. The large square building that soon dominates the horizon is a former granery (now an antiques and craft centre) that stands next to the bridge at Battlesbridge.
Beyond the bridge is a structure that looks like a set of lock gates. These are designed to close automatically as the tide starts to go out, creating a head of water that would be used to drive the tidal mill that has recently been restored.
If you decide to visit the Barge Inn be sure to pull your canoe well clear of the high tide and think about the mud and the state of the tide on your return.
The trip is five and a half miles with no portages.
Comments on this trip
Woodham Watersports Association 01 Jul 2014
Please note that canoeists can now join the South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club canoe section who jointly own the slipway with the Woodham Ferrers Waterski Club and have unrestricted access to this launch. Please do not post derogatory comments regarding either clubs ownership and use of the river.
Mike and Maureen 20 Oct 2013
We did this route on a Sunday in August 2013,and launched from the opposite river bank at Hullbridge. Here there is a free car park just a short walk up the road. You can drive down to the public slipway and drop your canoes/kayaks off and then drive the few yards back to the car park, where there was plenty of space on the day we were there. This launch/finish point also has the added advantage of the pub right at the finish for a postpaddle pint!
Sensible 21 Aug 2013
The slipway at SWF is owned by the Local Autority and leased to the Waterski Club and Yacht club jointly.Legal action for launching a canoe reallyThis would need to be a joint action as it is a shred facility and is HIGHLY unlikely. It would do nothing for the waterski clubs already poor reputation with the local community.
Woodham Watersports Association 19 Oct 2012
The slipway of the "boat club" mentioned here is private and not open to public launching of any type of vessel. So for casual users this is not an option and may lead to legal action