Paddleboarding Paper Mill Lock, River Chelmer


If a sea breeze or the ambient wind mean the coast is too windy or choppy for paddling in safety and comfort, it’s time to head inland. One of Wet’n’Dry SUP’s favourite freshwater paddleboard launch is at Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, south-east of Chelmsford. Trees and the surrounding countryside ensure the water stays flat and provide good shelter from the wind.

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: Paper 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 the riverbanks and 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 now limited road parking due to yellow lines being painted. The Tea Room car park (directly behind the tea rooms) is very small, for customers only and limited to a two hour stay. There is also a larger car park next door to the tea room that now offers secure, managed all day parking from 10am until 5.30 pm (9am at weekends) for £5 per car.

The area has been extensively revamped with more parking, information areas and a growing picnic area.

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 … or you can purchase (cash or cheque) from the Resident Caretakers – Sam (large blue boat on towpath) or Sue (green boat behind island offices) at Paper Mill, June or Ian at Hoe Mill.

Location: Just north of Little Baddow off the A12 – and best found with the aid of a sat-nav! Nearest postcode CM3 4BS.


WetnDry Boardsports, Lower Barn Farm, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9ET


01268 569988