Paddleboarding Hoe Mill Lock, River Chelmer
Hoe Mill Lock is a less frequented and well-sheltered stretch of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation that’s great for busy times of year and/or stronger winds. It is navigable by motorboat, although very few venture east, leaving the beautiful countryside waterway primarily to paddlers. Heading east, Malden and the tidal river are just a few locks away. But the hidden gem here is a natural pool of the Chelmer off the canal – it’s only a short stretch, but is totally enclosed by trees so will stay calm in all but the strongest of winds…
Tides: None – and as the river is governed by locks, there’s barely any current either! (Just a very gentle flow from west to east.) Rainfall, drought and canal maintenance can effect the water level though.
Wind: Hoe Mill Lock is far enough inland to escape the sea breeze on a hot, sunny day. Pressure-driven winds will usually be significantly lower than at the coast too. And thanks to deep riverbanks and the surrounding countryside, even if there is wind the water stays flat. Strong paddlers should be fine in pretty much any wind conditions – as ever, just be sure to paddle upwind first so the return journey is the easier ride!
Facilities: There is free parking on the bridge, and even a campsite right by the water (see www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/essex/maldon/hoemilllock). Licences are required to launch on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation – Wet’n’Dry SUP are licensed for our school / hire fleet of boards. Annual licences (£31 per year) are now available to buy online via www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=2038 … or you can purchase (cash or cheque) from the resident caretakers June or Ian at Hoe Mill.
Location: In the village of Ulting off the A12 – and best found with the aid of a sat-nav! Postcode CM9 6RA.