The site of Wensum Park started to develop during the first decade of the C20, following the purchase of land by the City in 1907. Reflecting its locality, on the banks of the River Wensum, it was given a swimming bath, bathing pool, wading pool, and shelter, all of which were completed by 1910.
By 1921 however the area around the pools had become used as a unofficial tip so a scheme was put forward to develop the site as a formal public park. The garden was designed by Captain Sandys-Winsch, a protégé of Thomas Mawson, to offer opportunities for passive recreation and was constructed over the next four years using unemployed labour. It was opened in 1925.
The park remains in use as a public amenity.
We try and keep the information regarding our recommended launch spots up to date, however please do leave a comment below with any other information or updates you have regarding your visit
- Inflating the boards
- Access to the water
- Local Amenities
- Other Information
- Paddling Routes
Wensum Park lies on the north-west side of the city of Norwich between Drayton Road to the north-east and the River Wensum to the south-west. St Martin’s Road forms the east boundary whilst iron railings divide the park from neighbouring factories to the north-west. It is located in a part of the city which contains both residential and commercial development.
There are a couple of options regarding parking near the park however we also advise that all visitors should check restrictions upon arrival.
To the North of the park on Drayton road is a lay-by with a 2 hour parking limit. You can then walk directly through to the park from here. There is sometimes room to inflate your boards here however with a busy pavement of walkers its advisable to take your equipment into the park itself to inflate.
Drayton Road (on road side)
Heading west along Drayton Road past the lay-by there is an area outside the townhouses which doesn’t have any restrictions with parking. Please note however, this road can be busy so extra care to be taken. Also…. check re restrictions on arrival just incase they have added any since we posted this.
Aldi/Home Bargains Carpark
Heading west along Drayton Road past the lay-by there is an Aldi and Home-bargains carpark. You can park in here without restrictions. Accessing the park from here can either be back along Drayton road for a short 200m walk or exit out the bottom of the carpark and walk 200m along the river to enter the park. Please note however, there is no access to the river until you are in Wensum Park.
There is a great guide here on how to inflate the board – Click here
You can easily wheel your RedPaddle Co all terrain back pack into the park where there is a vast amount of grass to inflate your board ready for your paddle adventure
N.B – I tend to park in the lay-by at the top of the park, wheel the boards in and inflate. Then leave someone in the park with the boards while I pop everything not required back in the car and move it to a longer parking allocation so I can enjoy my paddle without worrying about getting back to a yellow sticker on the windscreen.
You can easily access the River Wensum at the bottom of the park either over the bridge (right of the park) or behind the toilet block (left of the park). There is a wooden jetty all along the river bank giving you easy access to set off. You can also easily stand in the water here as well if required
Things to note, this park is lucky enough to have some incredible wildlife so please go careful around the birds. Also, they do leave some mess so its good to wear something on your feet.
There is no where in the park to obtain refreshments however there are a few places near the park you can go
There is Aldi / Home Bargains on Drayton road if required.
There is a toilet block in the park maintained by Norwich City Council. ( we believe these are still closed due to covid-19)
What3Words is a GREAT app to help you find places but also for your safety. We would encourage anyone to download the App incase of emergency in order to let emergency services know of your location.
Due to the wild birds that live in the park dogs are not allowed
Paddle west up the river wensum towards Hellesdon Mill.
This is an upstream paddle following the Marriotts Way
an abundance of wildlife can be seen from otters, kingfishers, fish, Swans and ducks. This is a mainly sheltered with a range of trees and river bank vegetation covering a majority of the route. This also helps you to not be on-looked by other people if you are feeling a little nervous. There are a couple of bridges to go under and some areas where the trees hangover the river, so keep an eye out. My advise ( from personal experience) try not to hold onto the trees as you go along. The trees are well routed and will keep you there while your board keeps moving forward, usually causing you to fall in.
Paddling west will take you through the fine city of Norwich giving you the chance to see the incredible architecture and sites the city has to offer from a different view point. You will have to exit the river at New Mills where you can then cross the Water treatment centre walking along for approx 100m before entering back in on the purpose built floating pontoon. Heading then into the city (with the current) you will pass under some beautiful bridges. Norwich University of the Arts, Friars Quay and then along to one of the most instagramable places in Norwich Quay Side. Following the river around to Cow tower and then Norwich Railway station out towards Whitlingham. There are also a few pubs you can stop off on your way as well if you need refreshment.