Paddling up the River Brit with West Bay Canoes
One of the best ways to spend a couple of hours with friends, family or even your dog on a sunny summers day is to take a canoe trip from West Bay to Bridport. The mouth of the River Brit is at West Bay and paddling up to Palmers Brewery takes about an hour.
We were met at The Green in West Bay (next to The Old Salt House) by Max our tour guide, who ran through a safety briefing, fitted us with bouyancy aids and gave us a paddle each. After pairing up, we were helped into our canoes. Frank the dog needed a little more help to board the canoe than us two legged humans! Shortly after launching, Max demonstrated some paddle strokes to assist with steering, stopping and getting going.
It was hard to believe that just a few paddle strokes up river we were a mere stone’s throw from the coast. The blue chalet used by DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) in Broadchurch Series 2 was just there to our right.
The reed beds were full of birds singing their beautiful songs – it was quite magical. Ducks with their ducklings paddled their way deep into the reed beds as we approached. Suddenly, there was a large SPLASH! what on earth was that? – a dog walking along the river bank decided it was time for their swim! Frank however, showed no interest and continued to enjoy his leisurley boat trip.
The River Brit
Twisting and turning from West Bay to Bridport for just over 4 km, the River Brit is lined with some wonderful flora and fauna. Keep you eyes peeled for the blue flash of a kingfisher, the ripples of fish in the clear water or, if you are really lucky, an otter that might make an appearance! Reeds line the banks along with many other plants and riverside flowers. There are a number of fallen trees which have to be navigated around too. These bring their own challenges and amusement as some people misjudge the turn and end up needing a gentle shove to get back on track.
There was a lovely smell of malt drifting on the wind which could only mean one thing we were reaching the end of our journey up stream at Palmers Brewery. Palmers Brewery is the only thatched brewery in England it is well worth a brewery tour there and many of the local pubs serve their range of real ales. Frank (the dog) decided it was his time to demonstrate how good he is at finding stones at the bottom of the river. I have never seen a dog able to dive under the water and then reappear with a large stone in his mouth – truly amazing! The water wheel was running which finished off the scene perfectly.
Back on the Water
It was now time to head back to West Bay. Back on the water paddling down stream was very easy. Well I say easy, one couple unfortunately took an early bath (much to the amusement of their son) and Max had to assist with emptying their canoe! On that note, it is always worth remembering to take a spare set of clothes with you when venturing out on the water as the unexpected can always happen!
Return to West Bay
All safely back and ashore at West Bay we said our goodbyes and I headed off to sample some of the fabulous food available around the harbour. Ssshhh! news from a local – Rachel’s is fabulous for seafood and if you fancy something cooler my favourite is the salted caramel ice cream at Baboo Gelato!
Thank you to Max and West Bay Canoes for a fabulous trip and to Dorset for the fantastic sunshine and countryside. And Frank the dog enjoyed the trip too!
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