Stand Up Paddleboarding
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If you ask anyone who knows me where to find me, the answer will undoubtedly be ‘on the river!’ And why wouldn’t I be!? A stone’s throw from my house and the jewel in Bedford’s crown.

Moving from Stevenage to Bedford almost 20 years ago now, one of the very reasons I wanted to relocate, way before paddleboarding was known to me or even really in the UK, was to be closer to the water whilst staying close to my family. Bedford was the obvious place, with The River Great Ouse flowing right through the heart of the historic market town and a short twenty minute stroll from my new home took me to the beautiful Priory Country Park, completely away from the hustle and bustle of the town when I just needed some calm. Now, the very reason I was originally drawn to Bedford has become the perfect escapism from a busy life and the perfect spot to paddle, not only personally but also for teaching others with my independently owned and operated local paddleboarding business, Heron and Hush.

Heron and Hush is more than a small enterprise. It’s become a SUP community that has grown over the last two years through offering opportunities for all to not just try paddleboarding but to become part of our SUP Club, a weekly meet-up to paddle, socialise and delight in our stunning and ever-changing local lake and waterway whilst consuming essential paddle fuel (otherwise known as cake and cookies!) The River Great Ouse is such a treasured area and Heron and Hush wishes to help keep it that way. Sadly, particularly throughout the last year, our green and blue spaces have been subjected to a lot of littering, to the detriment of our local wildlife and environment. To help to be part of the solution, Heron and Hush have run Planet Patrol events to help combat the issues, protect our local wildlife and keep our river clean for all to enjoy. Planet Patrol is a global movement to clean-up our beautiful countryside and waterways, and log the litter found to monitor and share information with the brands and Government to cause industrial change.

For me and so many others, Paddleboarding is the ultimate exercise for both body and mind. The feeling of calm and space to disconnect from the daily grind, to completely immerse yourself in nature, nurtures mental wellbeing as much as it does physical health. For this very reason we also run annual RED January fundraising paddles with all the proceeds going to support incredible mental health charities such as MIND Charity and Sport in Mind.

Our previous and up coming events include SUP Surf and Race Training opportunities to name but a few for those that have truly caught the SUP-bug and want to widen their skills! This July we also teamed up with Kent-based Daddyboards to provide our first SUP adventure weekend in Wales, staying in an eco-built boathouse in a secluded bay.  

Personally, I love to paddle all year round, as long as the conditions are safe to do so, paddling in the snow or even in the rain is a fantastic experience but warm summer days are still my favourite. The long light summer evenings are perfect for a post-work paddle following my day working as a Pastoral Lead at Bedford Free School. My absolute favourite time of the day is sunset and sharing this time with my friends, bobbing about on the river, completely immersed in nature with paddle snacks and a cheeky gin or cider, is my favourite way to end the day, every day!

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