SUP River Chelmer, Chelmsford, Essex

SUPsect’s first freshwater paddleboard launch was on the River Chelmer in Chelmsford. Trees and the surrounding countryside ensure the water stays flat and provide good shelter from the wind – it provided a great venue for our fledgling Wednesday evening SUP Club meets but we rarely if ever visit these days…

Tides: None – and as the river is governed by locks, there’s no current either! Rainfall, drought and canal maintenance can effect the water level though.

Wind: Chelmsford is far enough inland to escape the sea breeze on a hot, sunny day. Pressure-driven winds will usually be significantly lower than at the coast too. And thanks to the riverbanks and surrounding countryside, even if there is wind the water usually remains flat.

Facilities: The launch is a 5-minute walk from Chelmsford city centre, and just round the corner from our preferred post-paddle pint pub – The Two Brewers. Car-parking does cost 80p per hour by the Essex Records Office, and there is a height restriction barrier (although it’s high enough to allow standard vans through…) Licences are required to launch on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation – SUPsect’s school / hire fleet of boards are licenced. Annual licences (£31 per year) are now available to buy online  via

Location: Driving north into Chelmsford from the A12, turn right at the roundabout after the Army and Navy flyover and follow signs for the Essex Record Office (postcode CM2 6YT).