Saturday, 28 May 2011

River Kennet access on water mapped

Canoeists and kayakers from across the UK have been mapping where the right to paddle on the inland waterways of England and Wales is disputed, and the River Kennet, as well as its riverine remnants along the Kennet Navigation, are clearly defined by a red line running along the watercourse.

After only 7 days, members of the Song Of The Paddle website forum have already logged an impressive number of river miles where access is disputed, and, since the public only has a undisputed statutory (or licensed) right of navigation on 2,200 kms (1,400 miles) out of the 65,000 kms (41,000 miles) of main rivers over 3m wide in England and Wales, the map is likely to become ever more distinctive in this respect.

After the initial recording in green of the easier to distinguish waterways with acknowledged rights of navigation, the idea that England and Wales is a place where the public may enjoy the freedom of responsibly exercised access to and along  their natural river heritage is rapidly being crossed out in red.

The River Kennet downstream from Preshute, Marlborough, and the Kennet Navigation have already been included in this new mapping project, and clearly demonstrate the restrictions that paddlers face along this ancient waterway.