CanoeMe - Length of the Gipping by Canoe

Bramford Church on the Gipping

Gipping Portage guide illistration


Based on the 2008 trip I have put together a down-loadable two page portage guide that others may be interested in.

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Below - my first recorded paddle as part of the Bramford bath tub race in about 1970 - which I won!

The Gipping its got to be done!

We have been doing the Sudbury to Manningtree 'Length of the river' cruise on the Stour most years since the early 1990's. When we started there were only a handful of craft, last year it was nearly 200.

Having been brought up and lived in Bramford next to the river, I have always yearned to do the length of the Gipping navigation. On and off I have canoed on the Gipping for 45 years in different places and have waited a long time for the navigation to be fully opened up to river craft.

Suffolk County Council have done an excellent job in establishing the Gipping walk along the old tow path. This has opened up access to the river and overcome some major obstacles to water craft. But whilst the Stour river Trust have successfully pressed the Environmental Agency to provide access to small boats and canoes, it a mystery why this has not been done for the sister navigation.

In the end we decided to wait no longer and do the navigation for ourselves.

I had seen one log on the Gipping some years ago on the web but could not find it again so we started from scratch checking out maps and visited some of the locks.

In the event all went well and there were no major obstacles or portages that could not be dealt with safely and easily.

It's a nice river and whilst the start could be better it builds from there. Parts of the approach to Ipswich were also more attractive than we anticipated, though we did have really good weather which always helps.

We completed the length in a ‘longish' day and it may be just too short to warrant a two day trip.

Whilst the Canoe Clubs, the Gipping Trust and the Environmental Agency may not yet be able to help organize or expressly permit a lengthsmen event, I would encourage anyone else interested in the river to take to the water. In the long run river access has to come about and the more people who do it, the more likely this will happen. The benefits to the villages and towns along the route are obvious given the tourism and profile it gives to any river.


At a fairly easy pace about seven to eight hours paddling and portaging is needed to cover the 17 miles.

First trip in May 2008 - details and photos can be found here: Gipping Navigation.

Report & photos of Second Trip in May 2009.

Starting further down at Muntons Maltings in Needham road the Third trip took place on 3rd May 2010.

Fourth Trip was 1st May 2011.

2012 - currently watching the weather to pick a date

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