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“I saw my native land from a different perspective and am richer for it” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Canoe Kent

Canoe Kent
4 Brambleton Close, Canterbury CT4 6BF, England
07864 743157
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Ranked #15 of 37 Activities in Canterbury
Type: Tours, Boat Tours, Adventure
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Owner description: Fully guided, all inclusive day and multi-day Canoe Tours on the waterways of south-east England, including the River Stour (near Canterbury), the River Medway (nearer London) and Hythe Royal Military Canal (near Folkestone/Dover), with excellent opportunities to view rare wildlife, stunning scenery and hidden historical sights. Deserted island campsites are our speciality! Beginners welcome.
Chatham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“I saw my native land from a different perspective and am richer for it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

It is now 3 months since I booked my canoe journey with Dave Wise out to Darnet Island and the memories remain very vivid. I was born in Chatham and have lived in Kent all my life but this was seeing my native area from a completely different perspective. Right from cast off at Horrid Hill it was a new experience for me. I have never been on the Medway at water level; I have never heard the sound of water lapping up against a boat or breathed air so salty and fresh. Our journey began on a sunny early, summer evening in June.

Dave paddled the canoe at the back and his paddling companion was local artist Karl at the front. We ate our evening meal in front of a blazing fire (I was appointed woodsman to prepare the fire) and discussed all manner of things assisted by wine and beer. The home grown apples Dave baked in the fire added to this unusual dining out.

At one point in the evening for about 15 minutes there was the eerie experience of hearing all the street sounds from Gillingham: car engines revving, doors closing and human conversations. Then they were gone and we were alone in the estuary landscape. The landscape and skyscape needs to be seen. St Marys Island and the twin blue towers in front of the setting sun, Hoo St Werburgh Church to the right and Gillingham, which now seemed a long way away.

We woke up to a clear Saturday morning and breakfast tasted all the better for being cooked in the open. Saturday was the day of the Medway Barge Match and there really cannot have been a better vantage point. I was fortunate that Karl was drawing and sketching boats, flora and landscapes all day; I saw the beauty of the place through another’s eyes as well. There was plenty of time to walk round this strange, engaging little island and see the ruined fort –don’t forget departure times are dependent on high tide. You will see geese, owls, oyster catchers and any number of other birds. And yes – I saw a seal swim towards our tents by the shore.

I recommend that anyone should go to Dave’s website, look at his digital and pinhole photographs, read his stories and you will realise there is an unusual, unforgettable opportunity waiting for you.

Visited June 2011
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14 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Gillingham, United Kingdom
1 review
“Another wonderful canoe outing with Dave Wise at Canoe Kent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2011

Another wonderful canoe outing with Dave Wise at Canoe Kent in August 2011. This was my second trip in an open top canoe round the islands and islets of the Medway Estuary on the north Kent coast.

On this trip seeing a colony of wild seals of different colours was a real thrill! Being able to get up close and take a stack of action-packed snaps was absolutely priceless.

At the halfway mark up Faversham Creek we stopped for a long lunch on the riverbank. Dave rustled up a dish of prawn pasta sprinkled with chopped samphire picked from a mudbank. A hearty Indian bread replenished any energy lost on the first leg of my guided tour.

From the wilderness of Oare Marshes almost up to Faversham town centre, I realised how quietly canoeing can be a wonderful way of discovering without disturbing the natural treasures that lay on my doorstep.

Such trips are great fun if you like exploring the great outdoors. We gently paddled a course of a dozen or so miles. I suggest one needs to be confident on water and physically fit to cover such a distance. Be prepared to encounter, at times, nerve-testing waves breaking over the boat’s bows. The weather can change dramatically, quickly.

Dave’s knowledge of the waterways and tides must make him unique. His skill in navigating the tidal backwater of places I’ve only seen from firm ground gives me great confidence. I felt Dave made my welfare and safety top priority making our journey together comfortable and enjoyable.

I can’t wait for my next trip and thoroughly recommend this affordable and exciting way to meaningfully experience our coastline.

Visited August 2011
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Whitstable, United Kingdom
1 review
“Medway river and Estuary”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2011

Using my own canoe I joined a Canoe Kent trip down the river Medway out into the estuary. Certainly a great couple of days. The transition down the Medway from freshwater to salt was very interesting. Scenery, history, archaeology and landscape. I couldn't help but feel that I was seeing the skyline of Kent as it would have been seen by those that navigated the river since the stone age. All those people, all those years and still the same river. A great trip with two nights wild camping. Still can't believe it's only about 30 miles from the centre of London.

Visited September 2010
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Rochester, United Kingdom
1 review
“Free spirits on the rising tide”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

Medway’s maritime history is rich and lengthy; packed with tales of strength and courage, sea-faring stomachs made of steel and salt-blinded skills. As a more recent product of the Medway Towns I lack most of these traits, so approached Dave Wise of Canoe Kent, as he prepared for our trip, with trepidation and a weedy wave.

Within five minutes of being with Dave, this had changed to a growing sense of excitement and adventure. The instructions were clear and friendly, the canoe secure and the planned journey a breeze into the unknown.

Under Dave’s gentle encouragement my technique improved and I soon realised that it’s all about how you use the paddle, not the strength you have. Within 40 minutes we were clambering ashore the wild and beautiful Nor Marsh. After pitching camp we were soon exploring, tucking into the salty, fresh burst of samphire and scavenging for treasure. The cracked porcelain was probably from Aunt Irene’s long-lost dinner set…but we pretended they were Ming Dynasty era. The clay pipes could well have been Roman and the bottles were over a century old, as beefy as the long-dead seaman and stacked with marbled detritus.

As the sunset and the tide began to rise we headed for Fort Darnet. It’s hard to describe the change of perspective, less than half a mile from stable, dry land. The much-maligned Medway shore took on a romantic glow, as the orange blaze danced, then died behind Gillingham’s gas tanks and urban sprawl.

On Darnet we pitched tents, ate, supped and chatted, as the tide lapped ever closer with its mesmerising lullaby. Dave’s knowledge of the area is immense. And his travelling tales span the world. Add to this wit, passion and understand – making Dave a campfire talesman of some force.

After more morning adventures we headed for home; an exhilarating ride on the in-rushing tide. A trip on the Medway with Canoe Kent is eye opening, unforgettable and exhilarating. You feel a world apart from the nine to five of dry land and, in Dave’s inimitable company, you feel like the fulcrum and focus of the trip.

Visited July 2011
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Chatham, United Kingdom
1 review
“Paddling the Medway Estuary and Swale”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2011

I joined Dave for a two days and two nights paddling on the Medway Estuary and Swale. Dave was a considerate guide and good company throughout.

The paddling was at times a little bit challenging especially coming back up the Swale. Dave provided all the encouragement and help needed to crack it. The sense of satisfaction gained when looking on a map at the distance we'd covered made it well worth the effort put in.

Along the way we were treated to the sight of seals in the water and basking on the shore. The mirror flat water as we set of from Deadmans Island the morning of the second day was a delight to be on as the early pink skies slowly changed their hue to clear blue and the promise of a warm, dry day. Ideal conditions to get some snaps. Worth mentioning now that all my kit stayed safe and dry throughout.

The second night we camped on Fort Darnet. I'm not much of a food buff but anything cooked over an open fire gets my vote. Thankfully Dave has a healthy interest in good eating and served up some tasty grub topped of with a desert featuring bananas and chocolate!

The paddle back to shore on the last day was filled with mixed feelings; the satisfaction of having had a great time, anticipation of a long bath and clean clothes, and sadness of saying goodbye to the sense of freedom and adventure I'd felt albeit gained in my own back yard!

Visited August 2010
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