Doggy Paddle



 14th July 2019

Updated, Sunday 27th Jan 2019.

The Doggy Paddle is a recreational canoe and kayak event in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. The trip runs from Royal Leamington Spa, the Midlands, along the rivers Leam and Avon, and ends in historic Stratford-upon-Avon. The run takes you through the spectacular grounds of Warwick Castle and Charlecote Manor,so you can enjoy this beautiful and fascinating stretch of river.


This is a flat-water trip open to any competent paddler who is capable of paddling 18 miles (boats, paddles, etc, not provided. Use your own kit or hire it). The Leam Boat Centre, does hire equipment and normally leads a group down the DoggyPaddle route. Contact Matt at, 01926 88 99 28. 

See the Doggy Paddle Instructions for details on the limited shuttle service available run by volunteers... ideally please sort yourselves out! DoggyPaddleInstructions_2019

Get sponsored and help the GDBA! See the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association Just Giving Link or send GDBA cheques to Liz Gilbert, Guide Dogs, Warwick New Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 6AH.

The cost of entering the event is £10 for adults, £5 for under-18s (providing they are accompanied by an adult and capable of completing the trip). 50% goes straight to the GDBA. Ideally fill in and print out the entry form (below) prior to the event and bring it with you, to speed up check in on the day, when you pay your entry fee. We have blank entry forms on the day! Cash or cheques made payable to GDBA.

DoggyPaddleEntry_Form_2019.pdf or DoggyPaddleEntry_Form_2019.doc

IMPORTANT NOTE 1) The event is now held in the fishing season (local angling associations have been informed to avoid event date clashes), so please continue to be polite and courteous to all river users, on and off the water. The section after the Barford weir (the second weir) may have fishermen on the north bank (river right), so in general keep left unless otherwise instructed.

IMPORTANT NOTE 2) Charlecote house have requested that paddlers do NOT land or have lunch in their grounds, basically near or between the sets of deer gates. Please respect their wishes. Charlecote is half a mile after the third weir at Hampton Lucy (we recommend stopping for lunch at Hampton Lucy weir). I will put up some notices to remind people!!!

IMPORTANT NOTE 3) Warwick District Council have insisted we lock the start field when unattended. Hence the field will be locked from around 11am onwards. If you want to leave you car at the Leamington Spa end please either park in the nearby carpark (see link to a map just below, height restriction 2m or 6 foot 6 inches) or park considerately upon the nearby roads. Parking at Leamington Spa (Start)

The DoggyPaddle have a group on Facebook

The DoggyPaddle email address is, though please attempt to locate info here first!

The DoggyPaddle is run by Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club and the GDBA.

Over the years the proceeds from the DoggyPaddle have helped sponsor numerous GDBA puppies. The last puppy, Gareth, is extremely special to us at RLSCC as he is named after a dear friend who died while on a whitewater paddling trip. Here are two 'pupdates' on how Gareth is progressing with his training...

10 Month Pupdate  One year Pupdate



 All weirs will be marshalled... see pictures below...

1. Between 9:00 and 10:00 am, after signing-in, get on the water below the weir at Edmundscote Sports Field, CV32 6AG. Paddle the short distance along the river Leam until it enters the river Avon. Continue downstream.

2. When you reach the broken bridge beneath Warwick Castle you reach the only COMPULSORY portage. The portage route will be clearly marked on the left of the river-right weir. You must NOT under any circumstances shoot or play on the dangerous weirs at Warwick Castle. Do not approach either the waterwheel or the sluice. The trebuchet is firing at 11am in 2018, so there will be reasonably long delays near this time. Sorry. Set off early to hopefully avoid this. Please clear Warwick Castle grounds promptly!

Do NOT stop while at or near Warwick Castle, as the Trebuchet randomly throws a 1 ton concrete block over 300 meters and archers shoot arrows over the river!

3. After a few miles the river flows through Barford and the next weir on river right. Shoot this or short steep portage river right immediately after weir (by the greenhouse) to avoid carrying straight on, as there is a second dangerous weir straight on beyond the footbridge (we add a 'NO ENTRY' sign) - do not shoot or play in this very dangerous weir. Emergency route via house near the footbridge. After the right hand weir, paddle downstream to re-join the main river flow, soon reaching a small shallow rapid that runs slowly under the road bridge. Please be respectful to fishermen, generally keeping left unless otherwise instructed.

4. Not long to the next weir, river right, at Hampton Lucy Mill. This is the best place to stop for lunch. This can be shot or there is a portage on the river-right just before the weir. Note that once again there is a second dangerous weir (marked 'NO ENTRY') - do not shoot! Emergency route at road bridge. Phone box at church.

5. Soon after you pass through Charlecote House you will reach two sets of river-wide deer gates (2019 - these should be OPEN this year). You will see the large country Charlecote House on river-left and the joining of the river Deane with a rocky weir at its mouth. PLEASE do NOT land or stop for lunch in the Charlecote house grounds (basically anywhere between the deer gates), as doing so will jeopardise running future events. Emergency route via the Charlecote House paddock. Continue downstream.

6. A couple of miles after Charlecote Park you will find another shootable weir at Alveston with short steep portage on river-right immediately after the weir. Note there is a second dangerous weir straight on (marked 'NO ENTRY') - do not shoot or play in! Emergency route at campsite ½ mile downstream on river left

7. The river then meanders down towards Stratford Bridge, which carries the A3400 across the Avon. Beyond this on river-right is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Carry on another 100m and get out river-left, just after the bowling green but before the ferry, CV37 7LS. There you will see the Doggy-Paddle tent. Congratulations - you've finished!

Barford Weir 

Hampton Lucy Weir

Charlecote deer gates (should be OPEN, so just paddle past)Alveston Weir

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