Canoe Days Out

Suffolk - River Alde - Snape (bridge) to Orford

This page was submitted by Clive
How to get there - Go to Snape Bridge at Snape Maltings. Snape is on the B1069 roughly half way between Ipswich and Southwold. From the A12 south of Saxmunden turn south east onto the A1094. Shortly after Gromford turn right on the B1069 and pass through Snape. Cross the bridge at Snape Maltings and park in the car park on the left.

For those with SatNav the postcode is IP17 1SR

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

Suggested Launch Site - Park in Snape Maltings car park and put in above the bridge (might be possible to put in below but it looked difficult).

General Description - The best time to launch is about 2 hours after high tide. This allows enough room to paddle under the bridge. After a short distance downstream the Alde widens into a big lake. It was quite windy when Lady M and I did the trip in March 2008 (in 'Dawndrifter' my 14ft 10in. Mobile Adventure Melody). Initially the wind was behind us so we made good progress. It was difficult to see the exit of the lake (half the fun?) and by the time we found it the wind was whipping waves over the bow. Luckily Lady M was shielding me from the worst of it. We landed for a picnic below Iken church then, after another long paddle with the wind on our port beam, we reached the shingle spit south of Aldeburgh and stopped to explore the Martello tower. With a strong current pushing us along under a big Suffolk sky we reached Orford very quickly. There were numerous birds including avocets along the water's edge. The canoe was hauled out and left next to some fishing boats (don't think Orford is a high crime area) while we visited the smokehouse. We returned to Snape by the local bus (15mins). I'd say the trip took about 5 hours with stops. It could easily be extended (see maps) but the main thing is to be aware of the tides.

Happy paddling,


Comments on this trip

08 Sep 2020
The pontoon above the bridge has been restored and you can now launch from there again

08 Nov 2019
A few of us residents have salvaged the pontoon but its not back in position yet

Andrew Smith
04 Mar 2019
Yes sadly the pontoon on the west side of Snape Bridge is destroyed. Who can we contact to try to get this reinstated

Greg Nuttgens
15 Jun 2018
The floating pontoon a Snape Bridge has been destroyed, and an old boat is parked on top of it! (June 2018)

01 Jul 2017
Parking at Snape getting harder as it's very popular...

Julien Russell
01 Jul 2011
I live near to Snape and seeing the calm of the river Alde I bought a canoe. I just wanted to let your readers know that you can pass under the bridge even at high tide. Just be aware of the mud banks if you moor up near Iken. Great web page.


Snape Maltings
Tide Tables
Orford Smokehouse
Bus Timetables

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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