Home   Kent   News   Article

Dabble with a paddle on a trip to a tipi

Tipi Adventure
Tipi Adventure

by Lisa Daniels

'Left a bit, left... LEFT! Oh for heaven's sake, how exactly do
we keep this canoe in a straight line?'

As we headed towards the river bank once again, I began to
wonder how long the "short" canoe trip was actually going to take -
presumably estimated travel times didn't allow for the zig-zag
route we were taking, involving far-too-close-up views of both
river banks on a regular basis.

Two girlfriends and I, together with our four children, were on
a two-day canoe trip down the River Wye, with the added attraction
of an overnight stay in a genuine, completely kitted out tipi.

On day one we were quickly discovering that, as absolute
novices, what had sounded like an idyllic wander through one of the
most scenic parts of the country actually involved a fair number of
panic-stricken moments as we tried to keep the canoe from wobbling
alarmingly when we hit river banks, made the mistake of moving on
our seats, steered the canoe too sharply or attempted to reach the
bank for a stop-off.

Just over three hours from Kent, Tipi Adventure's HQ is just
outside Hereford, right by the River Wye. All you need for your
day's canoeing is put inside dry bags that are clipped to the canoe
(in case, scary thought, you capsize). Everything else is left
behind, to be driven to your tipi for your night's stay.

After a brief chat from a member of staff about what to expect,
what to look for and tips on how to use the paddles as we sat,
Hawaii Five-O style, in the canoe on dry land, we set off.

Tipi Adventure
Tipi Adventure

After barely an hour on the water, nervous
exhaustion threatened to over-ride any pleasure in our
surroundings, so we attempted our first stop. One wet pair of
trainers later, we had managed to get our canoes out of the water
and on to land for our picnic.

With the sun shining down on us and not a soul in sight, we
began to appreciate just how unspoilt the River Wye and its
surrounding countryside are. Making a mockery of our canoeing
attempts, swans glided effortlessly past, birds swooped to grab
insects from just above the river's surface and all we could hear
was the baa-ing of sheep in a far-off field.

Feeling refreshed, we packed up the remains of our lunch and,
after a few false starts, headed off downstream again. The second
half of our first day was a much more successful affair, with us
even daring to take our eyes off the immediate horizon to enjoy the

Then the most wonderful sight - three tipis pitched by the
river. Now we just had to figure out how not to get caught in the
current and glide past.

Thank you, oh thank you, to the couple sitting on the opposite
bank who warned us that stopping involved treating a small bush in
the middle of the river as a roundabout before coming to rest in a
paved-off stretch of calm water. Unfortunately the advice was too
late for half of our group, who had spotted a very small signpost
by the river with "Tipi Adventure" scrawled on it. Having
manhandled the canoe up a steep bank, the adult and two children
realised that what the sign actually said was: "Tipi Adventure, 400
yards". Ho hum.

Tipi Adventure
Tipi Adventure

Our 21ft wide tipi - one of only three on a very
large stretch of land - slept up to seven on three double and one
single futon beds that convert from sofas. On the floor was matting
and sheepskin rugs. The very warm sleeping bags come with fleecy
liners and large, soft pillows. Wood and kindling are provided for
the central firepit - just make sure you fathom out the tipi smoke
flaps to avoid asphyxiating your fellow adventurers.

Outside there is a barbecue - coals are provided - a picnic
table, a place for an outdoor fire and two Portaloos.

The next morning, having left everything we didn't need to be
returned to our cars, we set off.

Feeling slightly more confident, we started to enjoy the
environment. From the river, you can really appreciate why the Wye
Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's a
birdwatcher's paradise and the only other people we saw were
fishermen on the banks. The perfect place to enjoy the sound of

All canoeing is downstream with canoes,
paddles, lifejackets and dry bags provided. The tipi sites are
between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.

Tipi prices start from £150 midweek per tipi
per night and canoes are £45 per day each. Canoes will seat three
adults or two adults and two small children. Minimum recommended
age for canoeing is four.

Paddling times vary but a day's standard
family paddle is between four and six hours.

Easy Rider offers two-three hours' paddling
time. Two, three and four-day adventures are available. The company
offers a people transfer service to the tipi for those who do not
wish to canoe or those who are too young to paddle.

For information write to Doberhill Lodge, The Lonk, Joyford, Coleford, Gloucestershire, GL16 7AJ, email info@tipiadventure.co.uk or visit www.tipiadventure.co.uk

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More