Albany Reach Open Space, Thames Ditton
The river bank (beach) on Albany Reach Open Space in Thames Ditton is our original home. On the banks of the River Thames, it is where in April 2017 we had our first paddle and taster session. Albany Reach Open Space and “Beach” area is situated at the end of Aragon Avenue, Thames Ditton. It is a large grassy area with a gently sloping beach to the River Thames.
There is car parking close by. Please try and avoid parking in Aragon Avenue as it causes nuisance and can prevent Emergency Service from getting into the road. Please park considerately and don’t park on the verge. At busy times let us know you are coming and there is a turning circle at the end of the road where boards and equipment can be dropped off and looked after whilst you go and park your car.
From our launch spot on “Beach” or The Albany we have a few options, some afternoons are fairly informal and relaxed, we paddle upstream to Hampton Court as far as, and occasionally over, the East Molesey lock and downstream to the island and round by Ye Olde Swan.
In the Summer, we’ve had some great afternoons on the beach, with a picnic and even a swim if the weather is hot. We also paddle this route on Summer weekday evenings when the time is shorter.
If we are feeling a little more energetic, and depending on flow and wind, we can paddle upstream, over the lock and round the East Molesey islands, sometimes as far as Sunbury. The Sunbury round trip usually takes around 3 hours.
Another popular afternoon out is the downstream option to Kingston, sometimes just as far as the Ravens Ait or a little further for a coffee stop just outside Kingston. We have paddled under the bridge into Kingston town centre and even as far as the Boathouse pub for some well-earned refreshments, best done in the Summer when the wind and flow are kind, although we did one rather windy return – made for a good workout. The Kingston trip also takes about 3 hours.
Husrt Park, Molesey
We paddle from Hurst Park from time to time. Sometimes we just feel like a change or sometimes the “Beach” and Ditton Reach is very busy. It is a quieter stretch of water with a number of islands to paddle round. We sometimes meet up with the paddle boarders on Taggs Island, of which there are a growing number.
The other big island is Platt’s Eyot, where there is a boat yard and during the First and Second World Wars, they used to build Motor Torpedo Boats and other Naval craft.
From time to time we paddle up to Sunbury to have a drink in one of the pubs and then come back on the current and hopefully a following westerly wind. On a hot summers Sunday afternoon, it’s a lovely spot to mess about on the boards, practicing 360 turns and other techniques, or just lazing around and drifting slowly on the current.
Hurst Park itself used to be a horse racing course and was closed down in 1962. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic.