Canoe Days Out

Kent - River Great Stour (Kent) - Grove Ferry to Fordwich (& return)

This page was submitted by David and Rhoda Wilson (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Public car park next to the Grove Ferry Inn on turning off A28 about 7 miles east of Canterbury.

For those with SatNav the postcode is CT3 4BP.

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

Suggested Launch Site - Small landing stage on edge of car park

General Description - The round trip to Fordwich is about 9 miles, but will feel like less with tide assistance. The river winds about until the old gravel pits are reached (these can be canoed too) and then the valley becomes narrower, with the National Nature Reserve at Stodmarsh on the south bank (no landing).

To take advantage of the tide, leave Grove Ferry about 2.5 hours after high tide at Sandwich. You will need spring tides for assistance on the last mile or so to Fordwich.

As an alternative, leave Grove Ferry at the same time as high tide at Sandwich, and go downstream to Pluck's Gutter (route) - about 6 miles return but boring! Going further downstream to Sandwich is not recommended, as either you have to paddle against the tide all the way or have the prospect of a very muddy landing at low tide - and the river is between deep banks all the way.

Public tidal water. Please see websites for photos.

Comments on this trip

29 Jul 2021
I'd like to paddle from https// https// similar, today or next weekhas anyone tried thisare there any whatsapp groups etc I need to know abut

Stour canoeist
11 Jun 2021
I would like to say it is such a shame that people are allowed to keep boats on this stretch of river in such a poor condition, especially on the moorings near Upstreet and along the banks by Plucks Gutter. The environment agency/river authority really should do something about this, sinking boats pose a serious treat to the river, leaking fuel,oil and chemicals into the water! For me the stretch of water from Plucks Gutter up to Sandwich is more unspoilt as it is less popular with other river users, just watch out for speed boats on this stretch who think that out of sight they can act like the stereotypical speed boater. I have also seen jet ski's being launched at Sandwich, these things should be banned in any location, why anyone would want to charge up and down all day on something that sounds like a wasp between thier legs beats me!

25 Jul 2018
Me and my partner have recently purchased our own Kayak and are new to the whole thing as to where we are allowed to go and wondering if someone can give us some advice. We are looking to try the River Stour from Fordwich to Plucks Gutter, we have spoken to Canoe Wild who confirmed this area is public and are able to launch off from their sites they just request a small donation. Do we need a licence, if so which type and any extra advice would be greatly appreciated.

Fish torturing moaning chavs
05 May 2018
Stop acting like you own the river. Get some excersise and learn to be civil. I dont care how much you pay for licences!. And for god sakes make yourselves visable. How are we suposed to avoid your rods when you wear camoflage and don't even anounce yourselves as we approach Atleast we have the decancy

Peter Bruce
14 Jan 2016
I love the river from Grove Ferry to Fordwich whatever the tide.I find it to be so relaxing and I have made a few videos of my trips to try and give a feel to others of what it's like and what you can see. See YouTube (brucepeter2007) I would strongly recommend a paddle on this section and please don't forget to go into the smallest working town hall in England at Fordwich which is open to the public (I did a film on that to).

02 Aug 2015
I have no "beef" with canoes, but show a little respect to anglers (who pay a Permit to fish and a government rod license too)by not turning the canoe around in front of them, crashing into the bank next to them or frolicking about in their vicinity! Just a nice steady paddle through and we are very happy, Do what you want well away from us! Thankyou and enjoy our rapidly diminishing river. Lets put the "OUR" in StOUR!!!

15 Apr 2014
Hi, I have canoed the stour from Fordwich to sandwich and then out to sea and back to sandwich again. Very enjoyable. But definitely need to time your trip with the tide or it will be hell.

13 Oct 2013
Have canoed eastern stour from outlet in Ashford through to god meerschaum church. There are around 4 or 5 small weirs and one larger one! All manageable in canoe. Some bits are a bit shallow at low water, particularly through the town. Have been on the river lots throughout the summer and have seen very few fishermen. Go on explore it.

ashe hurst
10 Aug 2013
Im an Angler Canoist. Re Navigation Anglers. There is no legal right of canoe navigation in england, unless voluntary agreements are entered into. Portage is also only permitited with Prior riparian owners consent otherwise its classed as trespass or breaking entry if on private property. Parking, accessing or exit from the river is again only permited with the land /riparian owners consent. Canoes can cause enviro impact on banks, reed beds and especialy when keeles paddles damage the gravels that fish lay thier eggs in. This is especialy sensitive with Trout Salmon, but also Barbel, Chub Dace. Wilful damage is an offence under the Salmon Fresh Water Fisheries Act and Wildlife Countrytside act as Trout, Salmon, White Claw Crayfish are protected endangered species. Damage to the reed beds can disturb nesting birds and damage to steeper banks can destroy the protected Water Vole habitat. Re Anglers, they in most cases own the fishing rights and contribute physicaly financialy towards the rivers environment, also they are Taxed via a Environment Agency (GOV) Rod Licence, a criminal offence to use/hold fishing tackle with out a licence enforced by EA enforcement Police Patrols. Revenue from the Rod Licence funds the EAs Fisheries Recreation, so anglers do subsidise EA funded portage for canoes, where as BCU refused my offers of suport and voluntary agreements to joint fund portage through my private fuishery. I myself have had discussions with BCU clubs on thier suport towards preserving and managing our rivers environments and offered them voluntary agreements, but sadly they refused. The navigation and access law for canoes has recentley been reviewed and upheld in the house of lords in favour of voluntary agreement access only or Keep Off private land and fisheries. I Canoe Fish, a River Keeper Fishery Manager, so have a very open view and see both sides.

02 Jul 2013
hello does any one know where i can canoe near dover as i have bought my self a canoe i am looking for a river where it is good for canoeing thanks )

Trout Tickler
31 Mar 2012
Mr T, there's a weir about a hundred yards south of the Tickled Trout!

Mr T
19 Jul 2011
Has anyone canoed at Wye from the Tickle Trout down towards Ashford? Thinking of taking my nephews on this stretch but not sure of depth of river, weirs etc.

Mr T
19 Jul 2011
Rodney Leans - Does this mean we can't canoe from the A28 bridge down to Ashford?

Rodney Leans
24 Mar 2011
Re Upstream of Canterbury - "Anglers get upset with canoeists and seem to think they have the right to be there and canoes not." Sorry Terrence but canoes do not have the right to be there. I'm not averse to a bit of guerilla canoeing but those fishermen pay big bucks to be there.

Terrnce Hill
19 Jan 2010
Paddled the Stour from Canterbury centre to the A28 road bridge crossing. Anglers get upset with canoeists and seem to think they have the right to be there and canoes not. Not really interesting apart from going under the main High Street mixing with tourist rowing boats. Very shallow in places.

Penny Alastair
28 Sep 2009
The last Sunday in Sept, perfect sunny day. The water levels are very low, with only mud banks joining the river to the gravel pits. However, great opportunity to spot much wildfowl and wildlife. Care needed not to get stuck in mud.

Graham Liz Cuthbert
27 Oct 2008
The paddle from Grove Ferry to Fordwich is wonderfull in spring and early summer, above the gravel pits I always find myself looking out for Ratty and Mole, I have never seen them but I have seen some wonderful wildlife, Kingfishers with their piping shrill call, foxes just a few feet from us, Brown Trout swimming under near Fordwich, many birds large and small. Take your time it is too good to rush and some good pubs at Fordwich.

14 Jul 2008
I regularly mess about in the river by Wye, no-one has ever stopped me. A few more fishermen down around Chilham that my cause aggro though!

28 May 2008
Has anyone canoed the entire River Stour? I realise much of it before Canterbury is privately owned and just wondered how easy/difficult it is

13 May 2008
Regards getting out at Sandwich, the Harbourmaster who also runs a ferry from a small dock by the bridge, will let you get out there. You will have to carry your kyak up some steps.

28 Jun 2007
Brilliant trip for a flotilla of family and friends, lovely pub at Fordwich. I might set off nearer to low tide next time to get more assistance. Lots of wildlife for interest.

25 Feb 2007
Excellent stuff, just what I was I looking for for a trip on the Stour.



Tidal prediction
Grove Ferry
Stodmarsh NNR
The Fordwich Arms

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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