WHERE IS IT?: Hampshire, from Lower Swanwick inland.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Start at Lower Swanwick. Coming from Southampton on the old A27, cross the bridge from Bursledon, take small turning first right to public hard and free parking. Recommended start about 1 hour before high tide at Dover to get advantage of flow and ebb going and coming back (though the double high water makes this difficult to gauge). Map.

APPROX LENGTH: 7 mile round trip if both the west arm (to Botley) and the east arm (to Curbridge) are explored.

TIME NEEDED: 2 hours.

ACCESS HASSLES: Public tidal water.

Ian Vosser (Jan 2006)... '

New Harbour Dues

Temporary fee for vessels launched from slipways or Boatyards - Pay Patrol Staff or at Harbour Office. 4 per boat per day for vessels 6 metres and under (10 for 3 consecutive days), 6 per boat per day for vessels over 6 metres (15 for 3 consecutive days).'

Derek Potts (Summer 2006)...'A note to add to the entry for the Hamble - the current entry lists the day charges imposed by the harbour, but recently (after much lobbying from locals, including various canoe clubs) the harbour have dropped the charge for "human powered craft" so canoes and kayaks can paddle the Hamble for free.'

WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Spring tide advised to get to the upper reaches.

GRADING: Placid water.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Strong currents at Bursledon Bridge. Lower part of estuary is cluttered up with yachties so stay above the bridge.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Attractive scenery - like paddling through a lake in wooded parkland.

Photos of the Hamble

OTHER NOTES:. Suitable for 65-year-olds (I speak from experience!)

CONTRIBUTED BY: David Wilson, also Ian Vosser and Derek Potts.