GUIDE TO THE RIVER MEDWAY
(Tonbridge to Allington)
NAME OF RIVER: Medway.
WHERE IS IT?: From about a mile above Tonbridge to Allington below Maidstone. Below that again is canoeable tidal water but very muddy and eventually becoming a broad estuary only to be undertaken if properly equipped for sea canoeing. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS:
Put in: Various possibilities going downstream (1) Barden Park, Tonbridge TQ 577466 through to end of estate (free); (2) Minor road south of Golden Green TQ629472 (roadside) (3) Yalding Lock on B2162 TQ687503 (roadside). Yalding Weir where there is often playboating available is mile south and car parking is charged for (4) Teston Lock TQ709531 (country park honesty box) (5) Maidstone, east bank just above bridge (difficult to stop here except Sunday mornings, no parking close by anyway) (6) Allington Lock, The Malta pub TQ750581 generally doesnt mind the use of their car park at quiet times, especially if you go in for a drink after.
APPROX LENGTH: 20 miles, or as much as you feel like doing. Return to starting point by train to pick up car stations at Maidstone West, East Farleigh, Yalding, Beltring and Tonbridge all close to river.
TIME NEEDED: Depends on how far you go.
ACCESS HASSLES: Public navigation; Environment Agency or BCU licence.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Regulated by weirs.
GRADING: I placid.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: All locks and weirs should be portaged.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Impressive castle ruin overlooking river at Tonbridge, Open meadows from Tonbridge down to Yalding, then scenic narrow valley through Greensand Ridge.
OTHER NOTES: Above Barden Park the river is canoeable but private. The Tonbridge Canoe Club try to organise an annual run in May down from Ashurst, 10 miles further upstream so go with them.
CONTRIBUTED BY: David Wilson.
There is a very large tree trunk approx. 2m x 0.4m which is currently recirculating in the weir pool below the canoe chute at Sluice Gate lock.
We gather it was jammed right at the top of the chute for the last week , leaving only a minute gap river right, but during our stay in the pool , it released and started recirculating in the eddy.
Although very large and (potentially buoyant?) it seems to be waterlogged and only surfaces occasionally.
River leaders please use caution when running this chute, and only send experienced paddlers down first to ensure that it is not stuck bang in the path of a descending paddler. It is totally covered when the weir is releasing , and only occasionally surfaces when it is not.
Our group were able to run it OK , but we marked the spot where we had last seen it with a kayaker, so that any less experienced paddlers, who may be not necessarily be upright, could avoid crashing into it
0.5 km upstream from the disused lock / 3km upstream Yalding weir
The bridge has a lot of work going on, covered in scaffolding, there is enough gap under the bridge to paddle through no problem. On the downstream side is a 'rubbish catcher' like a net/floating piece of cloth that spans the whole river. It is super low and in open canoes we paddled over it no problem.
There isn't really any way to portage around the bridge/floating net. We had planned to do the Tonbridge to Yalding stretch and after checking the EA website, canoe trail website and Allington lock they said it was all clear and a 'Green light' their code for boats using the river. So the obstacle was unexpected and with no sign on the river or online that I can find to say when it will be finished, it's probably best to call.
I am signed up to the river and EA notifications and there should be no work, so unsure if it has overrun?
SUMMARY: Passable floating obstruction - the river channel is 'closed for maintenance' so proceed with caution. The river is flat here so unless you swim/capsize it is not a danger.
"andy g" wrote:Medway Clean Up
As part of the Go Canoeing Week (6th to 15th April) the local canoe clubs who frequent the River Medway are planning a clean up session on Saturday 14th April.
This is being co-ordinated between Tonbridge , Maidstone, WhiteWater Action Medway (WAM), and Meridian Canoe Clubs (plus local Scouting Groups) with assistance from the local Environment Agency Medway Navigation team.
The idea is that each club provides a mixture of paddlers in open boats for carrying, in kayaks for fetching, plus bank walkers for helping with more lodged items. The EA will assist with disposal of rubbish from the designated collection points.
There will be a massed start at 10.00 am.
If any other local canoe clubs would like to join this effort please contact me or Paul Newman via this forum.
We have also setup a Facebook group