Distance: 3.4 miles (5.5km)
Can be extended by 1 mile
Requires reasonable water levels Weirs: None. Gauge readings: 2188 (1m>)
Time to complete: 2 - 2.5hrs
Difficulty: Moderate (Sence can be overgrown)
Start: Jubilee Park, Narborough
Map reference: Start SP551987
Post Code: Start LE9 2BH
Alternative start point
New Bridge Road, Glen Parva
Map reference: SP563985
Post Code: LE8 4GZ
The Rivers Soar and Sence meet at Jubilee Park just outside Narborough. Their confluence increases the volume of water available and the likelihood that the river will be navigable from here. It is possible, at very high water levels, to start paddling on the Soar further south closer to its source. Either at Narborough railway station or, more exceptionally, The Mill on the Soar at Broughton Astley (LE9 6QA). Care should be exercised through to Jubilee Park from both points due to low bridges. Jubilee Park has a small car park with a height restriction barrier at the entrance. It is possible to unload vehicles and trailers prior to the barrier although space is tight. The get-in is a short carry across the park to a small beach at the confluence of the two rivers. The river is narrow and winds its way northwards towards the canal, drawing closest at Blue Bank Lock a portage on the right up onto the canal is possible at this point to achieve the shortest loop of 3.4 miles but the river affords an interesting passage onto The Soar Valley Way road bridge (A563) with an easy portage up to the canal under the bridge to extend the loop to 4.4 miles. Once on the canal, paddle right in a southerly direction. From the Road bridge the first obstacle will be Blue Bank Lock.
The lock is followed by a canal bridge carrying a farm track (this can be seen from the river and gives the clue that the portage is approaching). After another 700 yards a portage around Gees Lock is required. A canal bridge and the remaining shoulders of the Great Central Railway bridge are a further 700 yards down the canal, the land on the inside of the left hand bend just completed was the site of the Glen Parva brick works.
Just before a modern bridge providing access to a 90s housing development is the portage point to transfer onto the River Sence. Climb over the fence just before the first house on the right hand side. There is a small parking area at the end of New Bridge Road GR SP563985 (LE8 4GZ) which can be an alternative start point for this loop. A tree saw is almost as important as a paddle if you want to make unhindered progress on the next stage of the route. Access to the River Sence is down the bank by the footbridge at the back of the parking area. The Sence heads westward back under the railway bridges, past the back of Whetstone tip and a small sewage works. It is more rural than that description might suggest. A portage around a low field bridge may be needed just prior to arriving back at the confluence with the Soar at Jubilee Park.