Paddlers will once again be able to hire a canoe, kayak or row boat from the Rare Cow on the River Stour this summer
PUBLISHED: 13:43 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:52 26 April 2016
The return of hire boats along a stretch of river immortalised by Constable and Gainsborough is set to boost the local economy by up to £200,000.
Historically, rowing boats for use on the River Stour could be hired from the Boathouse Restaurant in Sudbury. But after the venue ceased trading more than 15 years ago when Ballingdon Bridge was being rebuilt, the boats also disappeared.
The bridge work was completed in 2002 but the restaurant remained closed until it was reopened as part of the Rare Cow franchise last year.
And following a successful trail period last summer, which attracted hundreds of visitors, the boats have now returned on a regular basis. Tourists can now rent rowing boats, kayaks and canoes for everything from a gentle row upstream to longer paddles to restaurants at Henny and Nayland, or all the way out to sea at Cattawade.
Simon Barrett, Babergh’s portfolio holder for growth and local economy described the return of the hire boats as “good news” for Sudbury.
He added: “We are confident from the trial last year that the boats will stimulate a significant economy boost from the tourism spend, which is good news for local businesses and residents alike.
“For many years these boats were an important feature of Sudbury life, popular with tourists and residents and it is fabulous to have them back after such a long absence. Sudbury is already a great tourist destination and having the boats available again adds another string to its bow.”
The boats can be hired every weekend and during holiday times up until the end of September.
Gordon Hardy, director of the Outdoor Hire Centre, which is running the hire scheme, said: “It is a great experience to see this part of the landscape from the water. We will limit the amount of hires on each day to protect the tranquillity of the area, which is what makes it so special.
“During the trial last year 80% of our custom was via tourists, which is great news for the local economy. Tourists will generate an ancillary spend at local amenities such as restaurants, hotels, cafes, gift shops and other attractions.
“However, the boats are not just available for tourists, we would like to encourage more local people to come along and enjoy this beautiful stretch of river, which goes through a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is right on their doorstep.”