SUP route, Chelmsford 15k – the Church Road bridge at Mill House to the weir beside Essex Record Office in Chelmsford and back on the River Chelmer: 15km…
From Mill House, head west (right) upstream towards Chelmsford. Portage Little Baddow Mill Lock, Stonham’s Lock, Cuton Lock, go under the A12 road bridge, portage Sandford Lock and Barnes Mill Lock and go under the new A138 Chelmer Road bridge before turning under the big weir by Essex Record Office in Chelmsford (stay left after the bridge and 500m later you can’t miss it!) Paddle back with the flow to Mill House.
Best in west to southerly breeze for a headwind out and a tailwind home. During summertime, as long as there’s foliage on the trees and banks, there’s pretty good protection from the wind so can handle strong windspeeds. The route does meander so there can be small wind-tunnel sections! Not ideal in northerly or easterly winds, but doable. The route goes into the flow first, so is fine even after some rain when the current will be stronger. Check stream and wind conditions via our SUP weather page… (To increase the distance c.3km to 15k, either start from Papermill Lock where we run our Learn to Paddleboard lessons, or paddle there and back first!)
This is a long route, so only attempt it if you’re fuelled and sure you’re up to it: definitely carry hydration and possibly nutrition. Avoid strong northerly or easterly winds as you’ll have a headwind to battle home against. After prolonged heavy rain the river can burst its banks at the launch, the stream can be fierce and there might be submerged hazards in the water. Check conditions via our SUP Weather page. Nesting swans in late spring and later with signets in early summer can be protective – give them room and stay confident as you paddle past. Look out for fishermen and be courteous by giving them a wide berth. Steer clear of weirs, which are always signposted near the locks.