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White Water Rafting, Nottingham, England

Updated on August 2, 2010

Extreme Sports? White Water Rafting In England?

White water rafting, in Nottingham.. Surely not? For those of you worldwide who are not aware, Nottingham (my home town) is in the East Midlands region of England, about 80 miles from the sea. The East Midlands region is relatively flat and Nottingham sits on the River Trent, which may be one of the longest rivers in the UK but is not famous for rapids and white water.

Nottingham is well known for international cricket at Trent Bridge, Robin Hood, and previously for lace making and Raleigh bicycles, so how can we have extreme sports like white water rafting - Nottingham is far too sedate and peaceful, surely?

Well Nottinghamshire is home to the National Water Sports Centre (NWSC) at Holme Pierrepont, on the southern limits of Nottingham city, about 20 minutes from the centre. It was built in the 1970s from a series of disused gravel pits (which I used to play in as a boy) and at the time was the only Olympic standard rowing course in England.

Within the 270 acres of parkland is a man-made white water course, built for white water canoeists to train and compete, but for some time also home to white water rafting. Nottingham may not have natural white water but it's got some of the best man-made white water there is. The course was redeveloped and extended a while ago to provide an even better white water experience.

Nottingham Rafting Video

Predictable Thrilling Rafting

I think I'd be the first to admit that it's just not the same as floating down some dramatic natural river for miles, under blue skies and surrounded by magnificent natural scenery, but for those of us who live in the UK it has a number of advantages. To get to those dramatic white water rivers in the USA or even in Europe would take days of travelling and great expense, whereas for many millions of UK residents, who live within one or two hours travelling time from Nottingham, this opportunity to enjoy rafting is more or less on the doorstep with virtually no travel costs.

The extreme sports purists may so it's just not the same as the real thing - rafting down natural white water. But for those who want to try the experience before committing to the expense of a long haul trip for a rafting experience, it can provide a great "taster" and an exciting time in its own right.

There are rafting experiences on some of the rivers in Wales and else where in the UK, but they do tend to be remote and water levels can sometimes be unpredictable. If you want easily accessible white water rafting, Nottingham is difficult to beat, and it can be combined with a weekend break in Nottingham with the opportuntiy to sample some great night life, and other tourist attractions.

Another advantage of white water rafting in Nottingham is the predictability of the course and its known difficulty. The water level is controlled by a sluice from the River Trent and only in exceptional river conditions is rafting not possible – you are unlikely to have a wasted journey. And seeing as the course was designed to train Olympic standard canoeists it includes some daunting white water challenges.

For example, the sluice wave, created by the gate that controls the water entering the course is the first rapid to conquer. The top narrows follows, and then more wavy sections until the first major pool, the pyramid pool is reached. Following that the rafts get swept into the looping pool, where you will find one of the best waves on the course.

And so it goes on for a total of about seven hundred metres. When you're out of the looping pool, you reach the most intense part of the course, with the plughole and muncher stoppers to contend with before reaching the bottom stopper. And when you've done all that, you can make your way back to the top of the course and go again – if you've got the stamina!

Needless to say, all the kit you need is supplied, including wetsuits for a small fee. I'm not going to publish prices here as they'll soon be out of date, but you'll soon find all the information you need.

White Water Rafting - Nottingham For Weekends

Apart from white water rafting, Nottingham has a reputation for its night life, and rafting has added to the city's popularity as a place to visit for “stag” and “hen” weekends in England. Revellers looking for a great night club scene to celebrate a forthcoming marriage can combine the night time partying with an exciting daytime challenge for a whole weekend with a difference.

Or if you want a more restful experience to compensate for the thrill of rafting, then Nottingham's shops have a good reputation, and there is Nottingham Castle to visit, as well as the oldest pub in England - Ye Trippe To Jeruslalem, carved into the castle rock.

This reads a bit like a commercial, but it wasn't intended that way – I've only just realised what a popular destination for white water rafting Nottingham has become, and the reasons why. And I think it's worth sharing, before you decide to go off to the wilds somewhere to climb in a raft.

Let's face it – if you're visiting England for the typical tourist trail, and friends are expecting you to return home with pictures of castles and stately homes, you can now surprise them with pictures of white water rafting, Nottingham, England.

Learn More About Nottingham - Watch The Video

White Water Rafting Nottingham - Comments

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  • thrillophilia profile image

    thrillophilia 8 years ago from Bangalore


    I don't have idea about the Water rafting in Nottingham, but i really wish to experience the rafting, after reading your article.

  • bigmikeh profile image

    bigmikeh 8 years ago from UK

    Well said, Vizey.

  • Vizey profile image

    Vizey 8 years ago

    Water rafting in Nottingham is not a bad idea. the more you experiment with the sports, the more fun and enjoyment you get.