The UK’s first artificial course, newly upgraded and still probably the UK’s
most beginner-friendly, located in Bedford’s Priory Country Park, 2.5km
downstream from Bedford town centre.
From 2014, the course has been redesigned and now uses the ‘Rapid Bloc’ boulder
system used at Lee Valley, which has meant the course is now deeper and wider
than before, and more of the maximum ‘head’ is used, so more features. It still
has a dual function, acting as both a river flood control and a slalom course,
so we still have to build the course for each usage and take it all down
afterwards (but the Eastern RDT is working on that!)
Opened in September 1982, Cardington is a 120m long S-shaped trapezoid concrete
channel with movable boulders fixed to the base which can be moved to make
different river patterns. The maximum drop is 1.7 meters, but it’s enough for a
good white water training facility and you can warm up on the main river. It
offers safe moving water for paddlers at any level, and is suitable for up to
Division 2 Slaloms, and also for recreation groups to hire (see Bookings below).
Priory Country Park is a beautiful location teeming with wild life - deer,
otters, foxes and many different bird species – and you can tour through the
Bedfordshire countryside on the river Great Ouse, one of the cleanest low level
rivers in the UK. Camping and caravanning are available on site, and there is
drinking water and an Elsan disposal point in the car park. Arrangements can be
made to hire portable toilets for campers.
Bookings and enquires please contact James Rycraft by email at:
Contact Chairman Dave at