(Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Course)


WHERE IS IT?: At Colwick Sluices near Trentbridge in Nottingham. It's part of the National Watersports Centre which is signposted from all directions.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Pretty park at the Centre buildings (which are also BCU Headquarters) and carry your boat back up when you are done.

APPROX LENGTH: 800 metres, dropping 7 metres.

TIME NEEDED: As much as you like.

ACCESS HASSLES: Paddling costs around 5, and you have to pay a deposit to wear an annoying 'bib'. The Course is regularly completely closed to general paddlers, for sporting competitions, for junior slalom squad 'C' training, etc. Call ahead.

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: All full flow release amounts to roughly 30 cumecs (1000 cfs). The course can be 'turned down to 3/4 flow, 2/3 flow etc (making surprisingly little difference to the river features), but is always paddleable. When the Trent is flooded, the course begins to 'wash out' from the bottom upwards. It is rarely completely flooded out.

This should help you find out what the water is doing...

GRADING: It's grade 3. The new playhole (see below) added in 2002 is perhaps a grade 3+ drop.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: The Course provides an unusually safe learning environment. The banks are steep and slippy for swimmers trying to get out, however.

BUT the water quality is undoubtedly often extremely poor. The problem of 'Trent Tummy' is well known through National protests (and individual experiences) so read the advice posted at the Centre.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A superb safe but powerful whitewater training facility. It consists of a series of large pools interspersed by waves and two islands. Boily currents and surging waves are a characteristic of the Course, actually bearing resemblance to the conditions encountered on flooded natural rivers. From the put-in next to the Centre buildings...

  • The entrance to the course is under a bridge. The opening drop usually produces an enjoyable uniform surf wave/ stopper.
  • The first pool is below, with eddies either side (like all the pools). river left produces a small surging wave, which can be used for playing.
  • The second pool has two surf waves upstream of it. The second forms a small play stopper. Just downstream in the eddy is a rather ugly concrete lego brick!
  • Below this pool is a series of standing waves, great for surfing, wavewheels, etc. They lead to...
  • The third pool ('triangle rock'). This has a surf wave backed up by the strange pyramid shaped rock. Splats and splatwhels are easy on the rock. The eddy below the rock (river right) is boily and challenging.
  • The paddler then passes under a footbridge, enjoying two waves/ stoppers en route before entering the fourth pool ('Looping Pool').

Note: the Looping Pool has been remodified in Summer 2002 to form a much more powerful ledge drop and stopper. This is a great playspot, but is now perhaps the trickiest part of the whole course technically.

Video of Si Wiles in the new playhole (1.4 megs)

  • Below the Looping Pool, the river passes two stoppers (the first is a good playspot) on river left before reaching the first island. The channel going river left of the island forms a convenient eddy, whilst the main flow going straight ahead drops into a play stopper known as the 'Muncher' (it doesn't munch) which is a great spot for learning stopper skills.

Video of Si Wiles in the Muncher (1 meg)

Another pool, the 'Magic Roundabout' eddy. The paddler can paddle upstream to the Muncher stopper again by going around the back of the island. There is another island directly below this pool. Again the main current flows to the right.

When the currents reconverge below the second island, mst of the river drops into the 'Bottom Stopper', a fairly powerful shallow stopper. This is fine for playing in if the paddler is confident.

Below the Bottom Stopper is the last pool, with a small wave and a large eddy on river right. Get out here, there is no reason to carry on.

Below the last pool, the river flows in a canal back into the River Trent proper. The current is broken up by concrete 'Daleks'.

OTHER NOTES: A great training facility, marred by the two problems of polluted water and surprisingly limited availability at weekends.

There are several good paddling shops near to hand.

See also, Andy Weeks' article.

CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: RIVER TRENT (Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Cour -- Rdscott
2011 Nov 29 01:09:03 PM
The inlet gate is very friendly and easy to drop onto,sometimesitcan be a challange to get ofbut once you've workedthat out is a goodplace to begin, the rest of the course takes a bit more skilltogeton and stay on the waves but i'msure you'll be getting there before long
Re: RIVER TRENT (Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Cour -- p.r.unicycles
2011 Nov 29 01:05:31 PM
Finally got round to visiting HPP for the first time on Friday without a 3* - No problems at all, the lovely young woman behind the till simply said i should have a look before i have a go, get on the water if i'm confident and she'll be walking down every hour, if she sees anything ridiculous i'll be chucked off. All went well and after 3 hours i dragged myself home, VERY tired.

Quick question; Is the inlet gate the best beginners play-spot? this is where i spent pretty much all my time and by the end of the 3 hours, i could paddle it a lot better than i could on my first attempt i am reasonably new to bigger more powerful play waves, So is the inlet gate the best? Or is there a wave that would be better to get to grips with the basics of playing further down?

Re: RIVER TRENT (Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Cour -- slim
2011 Oct 06 07:24:23 AM
From what I remember, you need to have your three star or be of three star standard - the staff in the White Water Control office can assess you. Your best bet will be to ring them on 0115 9824716 and they can tell you all you need to know.

There is usually a group of paddlers from HPPCC paddling on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings and also Saturday mornings. HPPCC can also help you get your three star if you want to. Take a look at or drop me an email.

Re: RIVER TRENT (Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Cour -- p.r.unicycles
2011 Oct 05 10:19:29 PM
does anybody know if i will have any trouble using the course if i don't have a 3 star? i don't have any stars but believe i am at 3 star standard,

what are the prices and where do i pay?


Re: RIVER TRENT (Holme Pierrepont Artificial Whitewater Course) -- Pete C.
2010 May 07 08:52:36 AM
Received this morning from the guys at HPP:

Following Slalom Selection last weekend we will now be re-configuring the white water course during the weeks commencing Mon 4th and Mon 10th May. During this process we will be completing the fitting and trialling of the 'locking mechanism' that some of you may be aware of.

The new configuration will be designed to suit all users with specific attention being paid to improve some key features for both Freestyle and Rafting. We will try to maintain the continuous nature and clearly defined eddies in key slalom sections such as the rapid under the middle bridge.

Some compromises will be made in the bottom section of the course. The right hand eddy will remain in the bottom stopper for the summer while we will aim to improve the tardis/revolution for surfing rafts and for freestyle paddling.

The majority of this work will hopefully be completed on the morning of 7th May (to benefit freestyle team training on 8/9th) with the possibility of further tweaks if necessary the following week.

Going forward, the course should be set for the majority of the summer. We may still receive specific requests to change sections of the course to aid training for certain events. All requests will be carefully considered to ensure that any changes do not adversely affect other users and the user group will receive sufficient notice of any requests to allow for any feedback prior to any approval.
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