Frequently Asked Questions


IMPORTANT - each child under 14 should be supervised 1 to 1 with an adult.

A canoe must have at least 2 people in it.

The maximum is 4 - which is 2 adults with 2 children. 

When there are 2 adults and 2 children in a canoe the 2 children will sit side by side on a seat 3 feet wide. So the maximum age limit is 8 years old for children who are sitting together.

Where there is 1 adult and 2 children there must be 1 child who is at least 14 years old and who can look after themselves independently.

The test should be, would you be happy leaving one of the children to fend for themselves in the water, while you are looking after another? 


You should be able to swim at least 25 metres. Where there are non swimmers in a canoe the ratio of swimmer to non swimmer has to be at least 1:1. The river bank is never far away. Everybody is issued with a buoyancy aid and it must be worn at all times that you are in the canoe.


Some dogs - but no more than two in a canoe (Total number of dogs and people is 4). That is to say they must be well behaved and kept under proper control at all times. You also need to consider how a dog may affect the stability of the canoe. Remember that dogs with long coats are a lot heavier when wet - something to think about if you have to lift it out of water. Therefore only dogs weighing less than 20kgs are allowed (If you have two dogs they must not weigh more than 20kgs in total.). Every dog should have a lead (but not attached while in the boat). At no time should a dog be tied to a canoe that is either in or out of the water. Dogs should be kept away from birds on the river and should not be allowed to splash around in shallow areas where young fish are growing. In all cases you are reminded to ensure that dogs do not cause a nuisance to any farm animal, wildlife or birds. Remember that a farmer has the right to shoot a dog in some circumstances. Irrespective of what we say you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is accepted at any accommodation, camp site, pub or any other location.

Whilst you are canoeing we recommend that you remove the collar and lead, so if the dog does go into the river it cannot get hooked up on a tree branch and not be able to free itself. Our advice regarding dog buoyancy aids is that it is a managed risk, we do not supply them and actually they are not ideal for river use as the design often has large loops on the back which can easily cause entrapment. Dog buoyancy aids are really designed for lakes and the sea, where there is a long distance to land and in non moving environments. We give you this advice as dog owners and lovers ourselves, keen to ensure that you have an enjoyable time on the river without it being marred by unforeseen incident.


IS THERE A WEIGHT OR size limit for a canoe?

Yes there are two weight limits. The first is that nobody over 130kgs can be carried in a canoe. The point load and weight distribution of a person over 130kgs makes a canoe unstable. The maximum carrying weight in a canoe is 580kgs. In addition no person with a chest measurement over 54 inches can be carried unless they supply their own properly fitted and maintained buoyancy aid or lifejacket.


Children have two conditions that they must meet, age and size.

1 They have to be at least 4 years of age. This is because we presume that they have reached a level of development where they can understand and follow instruction. If your child is unable to do so, regardless of age and size, they will not be allowed on a canoe. It is your responsibility to ensure that people in your party are able to do so.

2 They must weigh at least 15kgs and have a chest size of at least 53cms (21 inches) This is to ensure that they are big enough to properly fit in a buoyancy aid and be supported by it in the water. The smaller a person is the quicker low water temperatures have an impact on a child’s ability to coordinate their actions in water. There may be occasions when river conditions dictate that children need to be bigger than this.


Alcohol is probably the most contentious issue on the river. Under no circumstances can alcohol be consumed on the river while in a canoe. We ask people to consider other people and recognize that behaviour influenced by alcohol often causes distress to others and on occasion may be an offence. A person in charge of a vessel who is under the influence of alcohol on the river is committing an offence. Most people behave responsibly on the river. It is worth remembering that although you are enjoying yourself in a magnificent setting, alcohol and water do not mix. You do not want to turn your trip into something tragic. There are pubs and shops along the river where it is possible to buy and enjoy alcohol responsibly.

In addition we do not allow the consumption of Alcohol on our premises or in our vehicles. Any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed in a canoe or transported on our vehicles. No refunds will be given to any person to who this sanction is applied.


The land along the river bank is private land and the same rules apply. You should seek the landowner's permission first. There is always concern for pollution of the water and land associated with wild camping. In addition, cooking and fires present their own risks. Litter left behind is also an obvious annoyance. In any case, there are plenty of campsites along the River Wye and with good planning you should not find yourself either without a pitch or too far from a campsite.


It is generally not a good idea to go canoeing when you are pregnant. If you are more than 12 weeks pregnant you might find fitting correctly into a buoyancy aid uncomfortable. It is also worth considering that when you are on the river there are only a few places you can find public toilets. In addition to this there are potential dangers of impact trauma that you could be subjected to, and you enter into the activity entirely at your own risk. As part of the canoeing experience you may find yourself having to carry the canoe, and carrying something this heavy whilst you are pregnant is strongly advised against no matter how far along you are. If we feel there is too much risk or the buoyancy aid does not fit correctly then we reserve the right to decline participation. Any participant who this applies to must contact us prior to arrival to discuss this further.

Can I canoe if I am epileptic?

You are only able to go canoeing if you have the epilepsy under control and have not had an epileptic seizure in the last 5 years, and are accompanied 1:1 by a competent swimmer who is over 18. Any participant who this applies to must contact us prior to the trip, so we can discuss it further.


Below is an extract from our terms and conditions. Full terms and conditions link can be found at the bottom of each web page.

6.1  The Distance Selling Regulations do not provide for cancellation of a contract for leisure services. Accordingly, you do not have a right to cancel this contract. Not withstanding the Distance Selling Regulations, We, will at our discretion, allow cancellation of your Booking in the following circumstances and You will pay the following amounts.

6.1.1  Bookings cancelled by you within 14 days of the Booking date will receive no refund and You will pay in full the amount of the Charge contained in Your Booking.

6.1.2  For Bookings cancelled by you more than 14 days of the Booking Date You will pay 20% of the full amount of the Charge contained in Your Booking.

6.1.3  For Bookings on a Bank holiday or Bank Holiday weekend that are cancelled by you within 14 days of the Booking date no refund will be given. For bookings cancelled within 28 days but more than 14 days of the Booking Date You will pay 50% of the amount of the Charge contained in Your Booking.


The best clothing to wear when doing outdoor water pursuits are synthetic layers, as they will wick away any moisture and will dry quickly. Synthetic layers tend to repel water rather than absorb the water, unlike cotton layers like denim which tend to get water logged, weigh you down and do not dry very quickly.

When the conditions require a jumper to keep warm, it is adviseable to wear a fleece, which will retain your body heat and repel water. It is also sensible to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket (pack a mac) that you can easily put on if there is a rain shower.

During summer months you will need hats and sunglasses and plenty of sun cream.

Do not wear flipflops or wellingtons, make sure you have some sturdy footwear as you may end up walking through shallow water on a sharp river bed. Wet boots or wet shoes are great but trainers are fine also.


Canoeing is an all weather activity, if we closed every time it rained we would never be open. However if we deem the conditions to be too dangerous, due to high winds, high river levels, thunder and lightning, too cold or a combination of them all, we will notify you at our earliest opportunity. Please check your mobile phone before setting out to us, if we do need to cancel you it will be done at 7am by text message.


If you have any further questions you can contact us using the email enquiry section below, or give us a call on 01600891100



Contact Us

The Paddocks Hotel
Symonds Yat West HR9 6BL
01600 891100