How to get there -
Woodham Walter is around 8miles from Chelmsford off the A414 between Chelmnsford and Maldon. Parking is in a couple of layby's by the bridge next to the lock cottage. If you have a sat nav the postcode is CM9 6RA.
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Suggested Launch Site -
Park in one of the layby's by the road and take canoe/kayak through gate on the same side of the road as the lock cottage. Put in is via lovely purpose built landing stage just above the lock.
This trip is a nice easy one of 2.5 miles each way (5 miles return) and can easily be done in about 3 hours at a leisurely pace. It is almost entirely through rural areas and VERY peaceful.
Head directly upstream avoiding the sluice/weir on the left. You pass through some lovely meadows with occasional trees on both sides. This is real Constable type country (his father owned the mill at Hoe Mill). After about half a mile you will pass Ulting church on the right hand side. This is a very pretty old church right on the waters edge....those of you who like to take pics have your cameras at the ready! Another half mile on you come to Rushes lock. Ignore the portage signs directing you right into the weir pool and portage at the landing stage on the left immediately below the lock. There is another nice purpose built stage just above the lock to put back in.
This is a nice quiet area with no road access and is ideal for those who want a peaceful picnic.
Continuing up river you will pass under a neat white painted footbridge and on through tranquil countryside. In this area you may encounter a few cyclists and walkers using the tow path. After 1.4 miles you will come to Paper Mill lock. Portage is on the left via another purpose built stage a little distance below the lock itself.
Paper Mill lock is probably the best known and best used part of the river. There are a large number of moorings here for powered boats and there is a very good tea room for those wishing to have a bite to eat. The cakes are amazing!
This area can sometimes get a little busy at weekends and holidays with people having lunch and feeding the ducks. It is probably the main access point for canoeists and kayakers due to the large car park at the tea rooms and good facilities (including toilets). During the summer months a Jazz band plays on the first Sunday of the month (weather permitting).
Once you've bloated yourself with Sarnies and cake just reverse couse back to the start!