Winter Paddle

River Winter Wildlife

Winter is the season to enjoy some of nature's greatest wonders. Ducks, geese and swans all visit the Stour Valley in winter. Woodpeckers can be heard drumming on trees in January and February. Tawny owls call more in winter than any other time of year. Snowdrops flower in late winter. Redwing and fieldfare visit the UK in winter looking for juicy berries.

We are very lucky to have a number of nature reserves and an area of outstanding natural beauty in which our British wildlife can be found in the winter within the Stour Valley.

The RSPB have a presence in the Cattawade Marshes. A Site of Special Scientific Interest with winter highlights of wigeons and teals at their most abundant just after Christmas and will often be joined by a flock of more than 500 lapwings.

While the Flatford Garden Nature Reserve may be closed until April, you may still benefit from the winter highlights of roving family flocks of long-tailed tits. Listen for their soft calls, which sound a bit like someone blowing a raspberry!

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty envelopes the River Stour covering 90km square and stretches upstream from Manningtree to within one mile of Bures. This peaceful and varied habitat of the Stour Valley provides the perfect environment for a wide range of species, from otters and water voles to skylark and barn owls.

A unique experience

What better and quieter way to experience the wonders of the River Stour wildlife, than on the river itself?

Paddling through winter can be absolutely beautiful and very rewarding. We have everything you need for a winter paddle. At Stour Valley Adventure Centre, we have a large number of tradition open canoes that would be ideal for such an occasion. There are a number of self-guided paddle adventures that you may choose from.

We also have drysuits for your use which should keep you warm and dry from top to toe. We would also recommend thermal base layers and a woolly hat! Be dazzled by the wildlife and paddle through some of the landscapes and discover why this area is considered to be of outstanding natural beauty. Our self-guided paddles allow you to explore this calm and tranquil river in your own time and at your own pace. Bring along a camera and a checklist of all your anticipated winter wildlife and we will provide the means.

Stour Valley Adventure Centre operate both guided and self-guided (hire only) trips on the river Stour from our riverside storage at Sudbury (Suffolk). Canoe / Kayak / Paddleboard trip options range from hourly 'have a go' and half day 'Paddle'n'Pub' to one-way and multi-day canoe camping adventures. Group Walks, Multi-family Camping, Wild Swimming and Cycle Hire are also available.

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