Steve Backshall launches National Go Canoeing Week at Lee Valley White Water Centre


Canoeing for all the family and a chance to try out stand up paddle boarding are just some of the activities lined up to mark National Go-Canoeing Week at Lee Valley White Water Centre at the end of this month.

And to start the ball rolling early, adventurer and TV Presenter Steve Backshall dropped in to Lee Valley White Water Centre at Waltham Cross this week to promote this special event on behalf of British Canoeing, who are organising a number of activities for the occasion.

Lifetime paddling enthusiast Steve was on hand to talk about his love of canoeing, as well as give information on how people can get involved. And to show how it is done, he had a go at white water rafting and canoeing down the centre’s 300m long Olympic course, where Team GB won gold and silver in the London 2012 Canoe Slalom Events.

National Go Canoeing Week, which coincides with the May half term holiday, is British Canoeing’s flagship week, aiming to encourage people of all ages to get active on the water, whether they are novices or experts.

The theme this year is the Big Adventure and British Canoeing are looking to get as many people as possible to join in to get to their target of 30,000 miles paddled during the week either in a canoe, kayak, stand up paddle board or any chosen paddlesport.

This year British Canoeing has also partnered with Cancer Research UK to raise £30,000 for a great cause while having a big adventure on the water.

Lee Valley White Water Centre’s General Manager, Paskell Blackwell said: “To mark this action packed week, we will be hosting Go Canoeing sessions from Wednesday to Saturday for just £5 for an hour, as well as giving people a chance to test their skills on the stand up paddle boards.

“Even if people have never paddled before, this is their opportunity to give it a try. While for those who fancy a challenge, we are running a one or three-mile challenge around our lake. They can put their speed and skills to the test and take part in our competition and be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes!” 

Steve Backshall added:  "I'd encourage everyone to get on the water. Canoeing is a great activity for all, regardless of age and ability.  There is something for everyone from white water rafting to stand up paddle boarding. You can even pack a picnic and the whole family into a Canadian canoe and have your own big adventure!

"I'd just urge everybody to take to the water this National Go Canoeing Week and log your miles and you could win a great prize."

It is advisable to pre-book for the Go Canoeing and stand up paddle boards during the special week and all those taking part must be aged 8 or over.

For little ones, they can build sandcastles on the centre’s sandy beach.

As part of an action packed day, visitors and spectators can also enjoy relaxing with a drink or snack in The Terrace Bar & Café, with views over the white water rapids.


Other exciting white water activities at the venue include white water rafting,  Hydrospeeding, which is similar to bodyboarding but on fast flowing white water and Hot Dog sessions- two person inflatables providing a heart pumping introduction to kayaking on the rapids. Additionally, a new beach play park is opening soon at the venue, which will include a new large beach area with giant inflatable attractions, aimed at mainly 8-14 year olds.

The venue is the ideal spot for a celebration, whether to mark a special event or occasion such as birthdays, or stag and hen dos and parties. The centre is also available for corporate or team building events.


Managed by Vibrant Partnerships on behalf of its owner Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Lee Valley White Water Centre has attracted 1.5 million visitors since its opening in April 2011. The venue is also home to British Canoeing’s High Performance Centre and is the base for the British Canoe Slalom squad and all UK Sport funded Podium athletes. Lee Valley White Water Centre was the first London 2012 legacy venue to gain this High Performance Centre status.



National Go Canoeing Week

Date: Wednesday 31 May – Saturday 3 June

Time: 10:00 - 15:00

Price: £5 for canoeing for 1 hour

Address: Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN9 1AB.


For more information on Lee Valley White Water Centre and activities, go to: Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN9 1AB; or call 03000 030 610.  



Steve Backshall, (in red) pictured rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre, where he also tried his hand at canoeing to promote National Go Canoeing Week.

Canoeing at Lee Valley White Water Centre





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