On a lazy sunny Sunday, with no kids in tow we decided to make the most of the day and head for the river. The River Rother to be precise and to take a trip that for years we had promised ourselves. Winding through the country roads we arrived at the small village of Newenden which straddles the Kent/Sussex border. The Bodiam Boating Station takes on board passengers then up to moor at the castle at Bodiam.
After some delicious coffee and tempting cake at the on- site Lime Wharf Café Newenden, we boarded our vessel and relaxed in the afternoon sunshine. Truly a de-stress experience, as soon as were on water and cruising through the arch of ancient Newenden bridge we were totally at ease and with peace of mind. The gentle chug up-river took us past the owl boxes and the fishermen who dipped their fishing lines in sequence as our boat passed by. The river is well known for its chub and the occasional crafty pike. Kingfishers, minks and herons enjoy this precious habitat.
The river Rother has carried trade up and down its banks for millennia, stretching back to Roman times. Indeed, the waterway carried commercial traffic right up until the 1950’s. For those with a penchant for both relaxing and learning something en route, listen to the tales of your captains who are a font of knowledge about the river and the surrounding countryside. Newenden is the home of the oldest reported cricket pitch, 1305, and also boasts the remains of King Alfred’s ancient fort. Alan also told us about the great sunset cruises, taking the boat down to Rye with a hamper and drinks for a fun and different evening. There are also cruise & dine packages and trips tied in with the steam railway and the ancient White Hart pub if you fancy making a big day of it.
On our journey we passed many happy couples and families taking the more adventurous route with the Kayaks which can be rented out at the Boating Station. Rowing boats are also available for the more sedate trip up river.
As the journey drifted along we enjoyed the views in an area of truly Outstanding Natural Beauty. The quiet chug of the engine and the lapping of the waves against the banks of the reed beds set the tone of relaxation for the day.
The banks are splashed with colour from the in season riverside plants and flowers. Grazing cows with their calfs close behind meandered along the bank on their own family day out.
Our trip ended with the view of the magnificent Bodiam Castle coming into view. Truly the most picturesque castle in the land, we were able to disembark to then stroll up to take in the surrounding grounds of the castle. We enjoyed drinks outside the Castle Inn and took in the sight of the steam engines, passengers in tow arriving at Northiam station across the river. The pitched whistle of the engine with the hearty puffs of smoke, together with my pint topped the moment off to a tee.
Late we joined our boat, ex Navy lifeboat Dannie Lee for the final cruise of the day back to Newenden in the warm setting sun. At the Lime Wharf café we enjoyed a cold beer on their terrace while watching the children let off steam in the play area with basketball and football games. Relaxed and chilled we took a last lingering look at the river, then set off for home. Perfect day..
Bodiam Boating Station & Lime Wharf Café. Boat trips,camping,rowing,kayaking,
fishing. Newenden. Bookings advisable,
telephone 01797 253838.