River Great Ouse  
General Information
Paddle Points

Old Stratford - Picnic Site

You can park free in small picnic site. There is a public slipway into river. The river is very calm and a nice paddle down to the weir.

You can also paddle upstream until it becomes to shallow.

Weir - Not Passable

This obstacle has to be walked around.


















Entry Point

Good entry point for a downstream trip to/through Bedford. Concrete footing of footbridge. Car park Adjacent

Duck Mill Weir

A weir I believe used by the Viking Canoe & Kayak Club. However there is access from upstream via a gap in the debris buoys, marked by the two yellow buoys, for those who wish to run them.

Duckmill Weir

Stepped weir, which leads to a canoe slalom course. It can be run by passing between the yellow buoys.

Bedford Lock

Old Park & Ride Car Park

Useful little car park, which fills quickly

Castle Meadows Entry Point

A stepped entry point from the meadow area. Popular park with cafe nearby and ice cream. There is parking over the south side of the river in an old park & ride area, so I have included it. Useful Portage point for longer journeys

Boatslide Weir

Cannot be run, but new Hydro Electrical Plant (utilising Archimedes Screws) is adjacent on site of Original Victorian Boat-slide

Riverside Cafe

Only open on weekends and during summer


Small weir for river level control. Parking in Aspects Leisure Park, subject to time restraints. McDonalds & other restaurants present.

New Cut Weir

Accessible from Aspects Leisure Park (subject to parking restrictions), this is a long weir which provides a 'short cut' down "New Cut" which cuts off the loop around the Priory Country Park eventually rejoining the main channel.

This is a shallow run and I haven't fully explored it yet, other than walking along it. Portaging the weir to access it appears tricky but not impossible.

Continuing past the weir you will rejoin the main Great Ouse towards Great Barford.

A McDonalds Restaurant is on the Leisure Park.

Cardington Artificial whitewater course

Cardington Slalom Course Portage Point

Portage point for Cardington Slalom course. Allows competitors to warm up on the river before racing on the course

Cardington Lock Portage Access

short walk across the grass to bypass Cardington lock

Cardington Lock Portage Access

New Portage point and access to water from Priory Business Park car park

Cardington Lock

Cardington WW car park

Priory Weir

Go Outdoors Superstore

Not an employee, just handy being so close to water if you need anything.

Castle Mill Lock Portage Point

Mooring pontoon for boats using the Lock, push past it towards the lock and there is a lower pontoon for canoes.

NB: if you head north on foot over the lock and through the farm yard (well used public footpath), there is a Go Outdoors store about 400m ahead.

Castle Mill Lock

Deep lock with large weir/waterfall adjacent

The Danish Camp

Nice riverside cafe.

I cannot confirm whether landing is permitted directly, despite a number of enquiries by phone or email. The last update I had was that they did not allow it for insurance reasons. However there is possible landing outside of their boundary

Willington Lock

Portage platforms above & below lock

Great Barford

Access to river with parking in nearby streets, The Anchor PH is a stones throw away. [url]http://www.charleswells.co.uk/home/pub-guide/pub/the-anchor/url]

Great Barford Lock


Portage Point

Grass bank for seal launch or various high dock options.

Weir- easy to jump!

Leads to a great little tribuatory and pool not marked on the map.

Tribuatory pool lauch/portage point

A good alternative to the lock.... Should not be any problem moderated by RWA Eastern

Portage Point

St Neots Caravan & Camping Site

free parking

launch point

St. Neots

small public slipway (free) Next to Rowing club.

St Neots Rowing club slipway

Use the slipway or seal launch to the right of it. There is a cafe in thePiory centre and a pub nearby at the bridge, both have moorings

Un Official launch point.

A grassy slope to the river that I have used to seal launch and get out. Walk along side of the lock and follow the dirt path till it opens out to communal gardens. I,m waiting to get an earfull from a resident before I stop using this one. ;~)#
Seal launching on grassy banks never endears paddlers to the neighbours! Because of the difficult portage at the lock just below here (portage is across a busy road with poor visibility) it is better to launch into the weirpool below the weir. Moderated by RWA Eastern

Start point at River Mill Lock

The river can be accessed via the Lock steps when the lock is open or there is a ladder if you are brave!

Pepper Mill Lock, St Neots

THE WORST lock on the Ouse to Portage as it involves crossing a busy road. Speaking to an EA River Inspector who was on duty he advises locking through (EA key and Windlass required). Currently manned due to problems with gate which probably won't get fixed until Autumn 2015 earliest.

Little Paxton Lauch/portage point-Tricky!

Use the grassy bank to exit. Jump the Gate and cross the busy road, duck under the walk way and this leads you to the other side of the weir. Becareful of your footing as it is rough broken foundations that have grown over with foliage.

Little Paxton Basin Lauch point-Tricky!

Across the road from the lock is an alley and 50m down the alley is a high (1m)mooring.

this technique might help?


Little Paxton Launch point - below the weir

Cross the road and duck under the walk way. Becareful of your footing as it is rough broken foundations that have grown over with foliage.

Lock bypass weir

Offord Cluny Portage point

Offord Cluny, Saint Neots PE19 5RU

Brampton Mill


Lock Portage Point

Easy portage here.

Lock Portage Point


Rough portage across the park

Rough portage across the park



Public slipway with large car park

Hartford Church

This has very limited parking, but is a good place to take out or launch. You can take the Cook Backwaters, or head downstream. If you start upstream, you can always do a one way trip in either direction.

Hartford Mill Pub

Brewers Fayre but ok for a quick stop

Hartford Mill

Rhymers Weir

Rhymers Weir. Portage required up from the Rhymers pool onto the main river. Alternatively the weir can be slithered down safely into the backwater whch leads to Battocks Island on the main river, thus avoiding the portage at Houghton RWA Eastern

Black Bridge

Limited street parking - do park thoughtfully! RWA Eastern

Houghton Mill Lock

Portage required or use boat rollers to drop down into the mill pool

NT cafe at Houghton mill

Tea and cream cakes at the National Trust Cafe

Houghton Mill

National trust pay car park

Trout Stream Weir

A small weir at head of the Trout Stream. Shootable with a canoe pass between bollards. Not advised to shoot weir in low water as concrete step at base rips canoes!

Hemingford Grey

River access with limited parking RWA Eastern

High Street Hemingford Grey

You can drop your boat off just at the end of the high street (double yellows all around) and then move the car around the corner (right just before The Cock pub and then on the grass verge about 100 yards up). There's a boat launch about 100ft from end of the High Street.

Hemingford Lock

Portage of Hemingford Lock

Church Street, St Ives

Slipway. Room for a couple of cars

Floods Tavern

Good pub with docking for canoes.

St Ives, Hemingford, Houghton loop

This is a nice paddle starting from the GOBA moorings at the Dolphin hotel St Ives going up the main river and back using backwaters and streams. A couple of portages at locks and weirs.


Dolphin car park £1 on exit

St Ives Lock

One of the few locks around that does cater for Canoes. Good low landing/entry platforms at both sides although a reasonable walk between the two if carrying a heavy boat. At least there is no road to cross. Land at the portage platform (river right) above the sluice. DO NOT GO TOO CLOSE TO THE SLUICE - there can be a very strong draw there.


Swavesey Launch

This is a great launch with ample free parking. It is across the river from the Pike & Eel Pub and marina. It has an old boat slip, making it easy to get in and out. It is a great place to launch and paddle upstream to the St Ives lock and back.

Browshill Lock

Longish portage through cow-pad laden field on left bank (weir side). Moorings by lock very high and not practical for portaging.

Earith Village Hall

Launch point behind the village hall. Very handy car park. Slip is soft "beach" style rather than purpose built concrete - see images below. Very near Crown Pub which is reported to be boaty friendly.

Lazy Otter

Fishing platforms on river right. Signs saying 'no launching' and sometimes a 'bailiff' to come and tell you that you can't launch from the EA-funded fishing platforms because you might break them, and its dangerous to launch there, and they're not insured.
Ignore the bailiff! Not a problem to launch here. It's a pleasant pub which does puddings to die for and there is pleanty of parking in the lane. The Gt Ouse & the Cam join up at the Fish & Duck (not a pub any more) so the Lazy Otter is a good starting point for a paddle to Ely. Moderated by RWA Eastern

Fish and Duck Marina

The Ship Inn

The Ship - Brandon Creek

Riverside pub at the junction of the Gt Ouse and the Little Ouse.

Floatyjoes end point

Pontoon with gang way. pub across bridge.