‘Birth of a Canoe Club in the Derbyshire Dales’
Matlock Canoe Club is one of the premier canoe clubs in the East Midlands region, formed in October 1984 as part of the British Canoe Union, by several local canoeing enthusiasts, using a small stretch of the River in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire.
In 2015 Matlock Canoe Club celebrated their 30th year in existence.
Canoeing has been a part of the Derbyshire Matlock Gorge since early 1970s. In late 1976 the River Authority carried out major flood prevention works through the Matlock valley and removed the weir upstream of the colour works (above the slalom site).
The area became more popular and an East Midlands Regional Whitewater training site was built. In 1981 it was thought that a club would benefit from the use of a permanent canoeing site and help maintain and run the site. In the following years agreement was reached for access, egress and unlimited usage. In October 1984, Matlock Canoe Club was formed.
The present Matlock Slalom site was used 1985 for the first National ranked slalom and as continued to provide national canoeist with a national ranked event each year. The site is now used by a variety of disciplines from Recreational paddling, River Racing, Open Canadians, Play boating and even Triathlons.
Over the years the club has tried many times to acquire land beside the river to build a clubhouse. Failure to obtain a land lease each time meant that plans to build a permanent clubhouse had to be abandoned. However, in early 2014 the club had a breakthrough when the local authority offered the Club first option on a building further up the river at the end of Artist’s Corner car park, locally known as the public WC. We are currently pursuing this option – watch this space… !
The Club is currently based around the 800 metre section of the River Derwent called the Matlock Slalom Site, which is Grade 2 (rapid water). The site has easy access to a permanent slalom course with training gates all year round.
In 2013 the Club also acquired access and paddling rights along the Matlock Bath promenade from the Victorian Shelter toilets, (north) to the far end of the river gardens (South) behind the Matlock Bath Pavilion.
Two major events are organised each year: a National Division 2 Canoe Slalom race in March/April and a Class C and Open River Race in February.
Matlock Canoe Club has always been a pioneering club for slalom. Over the years the club has produced many national champions, as well as many successes at international and GB Team level. Recreational and play boating has been growing over recent years, and we have a several sea kayaking members.
The Club has participated in the National Inter-Clubs Championships for many years, and has always finished in a respectable position compared to the larger established Clubs.