Paddleboarding on the River Hamble, Hampshire

A lovely paddle upriver for all levels…



  • River Hamble Estuary, Hampshire


When the river splits in 2, if you take the left-hand fork in the river, you can get to Botley where there is a pub called The Hidden Tap.

There is a flint wall with a bell, you ring the bell and the staff shout down. You place your money on a tray that is pulled up and your drinks are lowered down to you!

Alternatively, you can take the right-hand fork in the river towards a pub called the Horse and Jockey near Curbridge  You can land and sit outside for a meal – they don’t want wet neoprene indoors but they are welcoming of paddle boarders in the garden room.


Distance & time (approx)

  •  2-2.5 hours, relaxed paddle


Launch site

  • Swanwick Shore
    Launch and turn right

Launch fees

  •  none

License required

  • The waterways on this trail don’t require you to have a license to paddle on them. However, if you paddle regularly you should consider becoming a member of British Canoeing.


  • The River Hamble rises near Waltham Chase and flows past Botley, then Bursledon, past Hamble-le-Rice and runs into the Solent. Its double tides provide a high tide, which lasts well over 2 hours and after this there is a short ebb tide which is followed by a long flood tide.

Rider ability level

  • all levels – this is a relaxed paddle with a pub at the end

Details of the paddle

This river is tidal so it is crucial to get the timings correct or you will not make it to Botley or the Horse and Jockey. If high tide is at midday, it is recommended to launch no later than 10am. Once you go under the road bridges (A27 and M27) it gets quieter and more peaceful. Along they way you can stop at the YHA for ice creams.

Another thing to consider, if your intention is to get to the pubs is the opening times.  The Hidden Tap is not open daily, so check out the times at the bottom of this blog or check their website.

If you want a shorter paddle, or have less time, an alternative launch site is Manor Farm Pontoon.

You will need to be back on the river for the return journey by 3pm otherwise the tide will be out and you will be stuck in mud!

As you arrive back towards Swanwick shore, on the right is a pub called the Jolly Sailor, which has a pontoon you can land on and prop up your boards. There is seating outside so you can keep an eye on them and it has a very comprehensive menu to suit all palates and appetites.

Points of Interest

The river banks are a lush oasis for wildlife and the beautiful secluded creeks and boats on their moorings make this spot a truly dynamic environment to explore.
The River Hamble Estuary is steeped in history, having been a major ship and boat building area for centuries. Leisure craft are still being built here today. The submerged shipwreck of the Grace Dieu is marked with a yellow X providing evidence of the medieval shipbuilding site.

Opening Times for the Hidden Tap:

Wednesday 5pm to 10pm
Thursday 5pm to 10pm
Fridays 12 noon to 11pm
Saturdays 12 noon to 11pm
Sundays 12 noon till 8pm.

Photos and travel guide provided courtesy of Phil Jones

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