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Author Topic: The fight for England's rivers: Canoeists call for greater access  (Read 6447 times)


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English article but pertinent for NI too.

From punting on the Avon, to the Oxbridge boat race, England's waterways evoke images of a bygone time spent simply messing about in boats. So why are canoeists and anglers almost coming to blows over access?

You might think that all was well on the quiet backwaters of England's waterways.

Think again.

According to some, it is a battleground out there amongst the scenery and wildlife - and one that shows no sign of abating.

The argument is between canoeists, who want to paddle anywhere they like, and landowners and anglers, who say they cannot. Canoeists want "permission to paddle" in the same way ramblers have a "right to roam".

"It's like canoeing in Baghdad," one canoeist tells the BBC. "You're never sure what's round the next corner."

Although perhaps guilty of hyperbole, the man - who does not want to be identified - was speaking about the intimidation he felt approaching disgruntled anglers on a stretch of the Hampshire Avon.

And it seems the taunts and shouts he experienced echo around a number of the country's inland waterways.



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With some luck the whole waterway will be forced open. I tend to have a dim view at the best of times of anyone who refers to themselves as "anglers". Personally I can't see any reasonable logic in hunting and hurting an animal you then decide not to kill and eat but thats another point.

What made me chuckle though was the comment that rafters and canoeists "disturb the fish". As fresh water anglers on the majority catch and release everything, then it is simply for fun, it's like a bird watcher shouting at me for walking past a nest. Not to mention the actual questionable amount of disturbance a boat without a motor really causes.

One thing did stand out though, part of the argument was landowners and other groups claiming they had full ownership of sections of the riverbank and riverbed, then using this basis to say the water running over and past these spots comes under their jurisdiction too. Surely then this means the water was their property while it remained in that stretch of river, ergo if it leaves that stretch with higher pollution and flows on then their own property has now directly damaged another persons or public property? Possible pedantic use to force the complaining landowners into expensive water care if nothing else.


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Yeah, I'd be interested in a 'source2sea' type adventure, but wasn't sure about continuous access along waterways. I was more going to err on the side of go ahead and act stupid if challenged. I think our rivers are underused.
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I've recently start exploring the inland waterways and I'm gonna adopt the attitude that I have have "Access all Areas" until I'm actually chased by an angry land owner!!!

This trip, that I did last weekend, "Moy to The Argory" is an example of what I plan to do an awful lot more of.

As Twentyclicks says:
I was more going to err on the side of go ahead and act stupid if challenged.

Acting stupid comes naturally to me so hopefully I'll get a few interesting paddles squeezed in before I find myself in court for trespassing  :-[

« Last Edit: July 17, 2013 by Dowser »
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