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Canoeing and paddleboarding at Newtown National Nature Reserve

Visitors canoeing on Tumbleton Lake at Cragside, Northumberland
Visitors canoeing | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Experienced paddleboarders and canoeists with their own canoes are welcome to take to the water at Newtown Harbour. Follow this guide to learn about the safest places to go when embarking on a canoe trail at Newtown, and how you can help to protect the fragile environment at Newtown when canoeing or paddleboarding.

Who can canoe on Newtown Harbour?

To protect wildlife and nesting birds, we ask that only experienced canoeists take to the water at Newtown Harbour. You should be confident paddling in sheltered inland waters and know how to avoid disturbing delicate habitats and wildlife.

Please note there are no canoes to rent at Newtown, so please bring your own canoes.

Protecting nature and yourselves while canoeing

Newtown’s mudflats, salt marsh and shingle spits are particularly sensitive areas that can be easily eroded. These areas also provide important nesting sites for wild birds, such as redshanks, ringed plover and terns. These birds can be disturbed by the landing and launching of canoes.

Restricted areas

There are also hazardous tides, currents and soft mud that can pose a safety risk when canoeing or paddleboarding. This means there are only certain places that are suitable for landing and launching. Except in an emergency, canoeists and paddleboarders should use marked landing places and the slipway for landing and launching.

Stay clear of the marked conservation area as this is restricted area with no access. As well as being an area reserved for birds and marine life, the soft mud is dangerous.

Small boat and canoe guide

Our small boat and canoe guide is available below and on site. Please make use of this and note of the areas marked safe for landing and the areas to avoid.

By following the guidance, you will be helping to protect nesting birds, delicate plants and minimise erosion of the salt marsh, as well as keeping yourself safe.

Newtown Harbour Small Boat and Canoe Guide (PDF)

Paddleboarding on Newtown Harbour

Our guidance for paddleboarders is broadly the same as for canoeists. Please follow the guidance on landing and launching your paddleboards.

One thing to keep in mind is that kneeling whilst paddleboarding is preferred in the estuary and creeks. This is because the lower in the water you are, the less likely you are to disturb nesting birds.

For more information on how to keep yourself and others safe when canoeing and paddleboarding, please see The Paddlers Code | Respect, Protect, Enjoy.

Parking at Newtown Harbour

Although Cassey Bridge is suitable for unloading, we ask that you park in the car park at the visitor point and not on the verges. This helps to protect the delicate wildlife that lives in these grassy habitats.

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