It was a trip we had been meaning to do for a long time but you need the right tides to get comfortably far enough up the eastern Cleddau as far as Blackpool Mill. The Water Mill has a small café and a gift shop but the challenge was to arrive in time to paddle under the grade 2 listed bridge.
We launched on a rising tide at the Rhos, where there is free parking and an old slipway. To get into the water as early as we could, we dragged the kayaks across the man made causeway to avoid the mud and managed to get afloat nearly in the middle of the river.
It was a leisurely paddle for a few miles up to the Mill, with the river getting very narrow and shallow, so we were glad to have the tide in our favour. Although it is only navigable for kayaks or boats of very shallow draft these days, when the Mill was at its peak there were regular trading ships bringing grain and taking the flour back down the river to the port of Milford Haven.
|Approaching Blackpool Mill|
We reached the famous bridge with less than a foot of water left but it was enough to paddle underneath before running back with the outgoing tide. There is a footpath on a good length of the eastern river bank but the best way to see the river is by kayak – and apart from some visitors at the Mill, we didn’t see anyone else on the whole trip.
|Under the historic bridge|