SUP Hoe Mill Lock, River Chelmer, Essex

 

Hoe Mill Lock is slightly more tucked away on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation and hence is usually less busy than Paper Mill Lock – although since 2020, parking is much tighter! East of here, Maldon and the river estuary at Heybridge Basin aren’t too far away – just a few locks – but it’s generally a less busy stretch of water through some lovely farmland and countryside. One drawback is that when the carpetweed rises in high summer this stretch tends to suffer worst than most… Heading west it’s just two locks to Papermill for a 7km loop on often clearer waters.

No tides! And as the river is governed by locks, there’s generally not much current either… (Usually just a gentle flow from west to east, although it can get pretty strong after heavy rain.) Rainfall, drought and canal maintenance can effect the water level.

Hoe Mill Lock is usually far enough inland to escape the sea breeze on a hot, sunny day. Pressure-driven winds are generally much lighter here than at the coast too. And thanks to the riverbanks and surrounding valley, even if it is windy the water stays flat. Strong paddlers should be fine in pretty much any wind conditions – as ever, just be sure to paddle upwind first so it’s easier coming back! Check out our SUP Weather section for the latest…

Very limited free parking approaching the bridge, and a campsite right beside the lock (www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/essex/maldon/hoemilllock). Licences are required to launch on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation – SUPsect is licensed for our school / hire fleet of boards. Annual personal licences (£35 per year) are available to buy online via www.waterways.org.uk … or you can purchase (cash or cheque) from the Resident Caretakers – see June / Ian at Hoe Mill. £5 day launches are available.

Postcode CM9 6RA – in the village of Ulting off the A12, north of Woodham Walter. From the A12 junction 18, head east on the A414 through Danbury then turn left past the Anchor pub, through Woodham Walter and on to Hoe Mill… Very limited free parking.