Canoe Days Out

Cambridgeshire - River Cam - Chesterton to Cambridge (& return)

This page was submitted by David Savage (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Chesterton is a small village about 2 miles (by road) to the north east of Cambridge. Zoom out from the map to see the full location.

For those with SatNav the postcode is CB4 1PA.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - Start at the small car park beside the river in Water Lane, Chesterton, just beside the Penny Ferry Pub (not recommended!)

General Description - Paddle upstream (right).

Keep to the right hand bank and look out for rowing eights!

400m Just before the footbridge there is a small slipway which leads to the Green Dragon. Excellent food, good beer and the oldest pub in Cambridge. If 400m is too soon to stop, then remember it for the way back!

Continue along Riverside (past the Technology museum - an old pumping station with a tall chimney) to Elizabeth Way bridge and Midsummer common.

1.5km Now you have earned a drink. The Fort St George has a good range of draught beers and also serves good meals.

2.2km Under Victoria bridge and past the last of the Boathouses and on up to Jesus Lock. Land on the left and carry round the lock, but stop for an ice cream before you get back on the water! Now you are on 'the backs'. Enjoy a leisurely paddle on past the colleges; unfortunately you can't land at any. (There is a public landing place on the left below Magdalene bridge at Quayside, but it is monopolised by Punt Hire).

Be amused by the antics of those who have hired punts; your good deed of the day may be to return a lost pole to an inept punter.

The colleges are:

Right (before the bridge) Magdalene (pronounced Maudlin?)

Left and right St Johns

Left Trinity

Trinity Hall


Kings (and the chapel and the Wren Library)

St Catharine's

Queens (both sides) and the Mathematical Bridge

5km Under Silver St bridge into the pool. You can stop here - provided that someone stays and guards the canoes - paddle across to the right of the pool and alight at 'The Anchor' which has a landing stage.

Then, suitably refreshed, paddle round to the sluice and land on the right bank and portage up the punt rollers onto the upper river whch winds leisurely towards Granchester. Look out for the Nudist bathing area on the right.

8Km a small landing on the right leads to 'The Orchard', a teashop and garden made famous by Rupert Brooke. Walk across the field and enjoy a pot of tea and cake whilst precariously seated on ancient green canvas deckchairs - very period and very Cambridge.

A short right hand branch leads up to the Mill at Granchester; Byrons pool is a further Km ahead on the left hand branch - again famous for 'skinny dipping'

Now you can turn around, and do the whole thing again back to Chesterton; a very pleasant day's outing.

If you fancy a weekend canoeing in Cambridge, then there is a canoeist friendly bed and breakfast right next to the launch area in Chesterton; details at

Note: The river between Bottisham Lock and the Mill Pond is now covered by the canoe England licence that comes with membership.

Comments on this trip

24 Aug 2006
In Cambridge Cats (St Catharine's) is not one of the Colleges backing on to the river. It gets stopped by Queens in the way!


Bed & Breakfast
Tourist Information
Technology Museum
The Anchor

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson