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REVIEW: Paddleboarding at Live Free Adventures: A Serene and Thrilling Experience

I recently had the absolute pleasure of enjoying a morning of paddleboarding at LiveFree Adventures at Dundas Aqueduct, just on the edge of Bath. As someone who has never been paddleboarding before, I was feeling nervous and excited in equal measure as we headed to Dundas Basin to park up ready for our adventure.

Set in an area of mesmerising natural beauty.

The location for my first paddleboarding escapade is nothing short of breath-taking, Dundas is somewhere that I’ve never fully explored before, despite living in the area for my whole life (shameful I know), so I was thrilled that LiveFree Adventures is located here, as it gave me the opportunity to discover the area.

LiveFree Adventures is surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque countryside, and the aqueduct itself provides the ideal backdrop for an aquatic adventure to remember.

I went with my good friend Cherisse, who like me was a first-timer at paddleboarding but someone that I knew would want to throw themselves fully into the experience just like me.

It was a beautiful sunny day as we headed down the river, and down the steps towards the boathouse. The calm waters and stunning architecture were very inviting, and we couldn’t wait to start our paddleboarding session.

The Paddleboarding Experience: A Journey of Balance

As we arrived at the boathouse, we were both a little nervous but the wonderful Rach who is running things there this summer made us feel instantly at ease. She showed us around the boathouse; the store where they keep all the paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes, the changing area that they have created using some pallets, matting, and sack material (genius), and their little refreshment shop where we found to be very useful after a morning of paddleboarding.

Now that we were fully familiar with our surroundings, it was time to confirm our choice of water sport, there was a moment where I contemplated opting for a kayak, but I have done that activity before, so decided to stick with the paddleboard as planned and see what the experience would bring. Rach was great and explained how everything would work in a detailed but timely way, she asked us to read and sign our waivers, and set us up with a locker so that we could store our spare set of clothes (we planned ahead as we knew there was a chance of getting wet from paddleboarding and even the chance of possibly fully falling into the river). The hire of a wire locker is just £1, with a refundable deposit of £5, refunded to you on the safe return of the padlock and key.

Now that everything was stored and signed, we were ready to get onto the water. Rach fitted us with our buoyancy aids (lifejacket) and took the paddleboards down to the water for us. Rach had been let into a little secret that it was actually my birthday, so she very kindly attached some birthday balloons to the front of my paddleboard, a lovely little touch that made me feel super special. (I highly recommend stating when booking if you are there for a special occasion, as Rach and her team will do all they can to help you celebrate.)

It was time for Rach to help Cherisse and me onto our boards, she watched as we familiarised ourselves with the paddle and the board, which was great as she offered us some ‘top tips’ on how to hold the paddle correctly and what to do if we needed to turn around or change direction, something we could practice whilst she was there to offer reassurance, which I really appreciated. As a novice paddler, I was initially apprehensive about maintaining my balance on the board, however, Rach provided us with the information we needed to put any fears at ease.

Balancing on the board became second nature and we were soon ready to head off and explore the river on our own. Rach explained which direction would give us the best experience, so we took her advice and started gliding across the water, with each stroke of the paddle, we propelled ourselves forward under the beautiful aqueduct leaving a trail of ripples behind. The gentle lapping of the water and the distant calls of birdsong created a soothing symphony that allowed us to tune out the outside world and be fully present in the moment.

As we paddled further down the river, we both commented on how a sense of tranquillity enveloped us. The absence of noisy engines or bustling crowds heightened the connection with nature. Wildlife sightings of lambs and dragonflies added to the magic of the experience.

Whilst the setting exuded tranquillity, there was also an underlying sense of excitement. As we gained confidence in our paddling abilities, we tried standing up, Cherisse was very confident with this whereas I opted to give it a go but then paddle on my knees for most of the time which still gave the same fun, relaxing, and exciting experience. The feeling of exploration and discovery elevated the experience from peaceful to exhilarating.

Of course, paddleboarding isn't without its share of humorous moments. I admit I had a few wobbly moments and minor splashes, but these were all part of the adventure and added to the laughter-filled memories that we had as we made our way along the river.

It was great to see the varied demographic of people enjoying paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing on the day, from friends enjoying a morning on the water together, to families who were clearly experienced and at home on their paddleboards; we were in awe of a child we saw who was paddleboarding so confidently with their small dog sat on the end of the board, it showed us that this really is an experience for the whole family to enjoy, regardless of age or experience on the water.

After 45-minutes of heading upriver, we turned around and let the gentle current of the river glide us back towards the aqueduct and the boathouse, we both commented that we must make time to return during the summer as the sense of peace and freedom was something that we really wanted to experience again. We arrived back at the jetty and hopped off our paddleboards (if you’ve knelt for a lot of the time, be prepared for it to take a moment to get your land legs back, a lesson I learned the hard way as my leg took a moment to catch up with my desire to put one foot in front of the other) but it didn’t take long and we were ready to hand back our paddles and buoyancy aids and thank Rach for such an incredible experience.

Cherisse managed to keep her clothing fully dry throughout, however, some water managed to seep onto my board, so I made use of the changing rooms to change into dry trousers and some fresh socks before grabbing a very welcome chilled drink from the tuck shop they have on-site.

We thanked Rach and headed back to the car, buzzing with excitement and anticipation to return, very soon. We also took the opportunity to take some stunning photos of the setting on our way back to the car as the rolling countryside views from the top of the aqueduct are something not to be missed.

The Verdict: A Must-Try Adventure

My paddleboarding experience left an indelible mark on my heart. It effortlessly combined moments of serenity, immersion in nature, and thrilling exploration. It's a fantastic activity suitable for all skill levels, and whether you seek peace, adventure, or both, paddleboarding has it all. I would highly recommend paddleboarding to anyone. It's an activity that nurtures the soul, reconnects you with nature, and leaves you with a profound sense of gratitude for the beauty that surrounds us. I can't wait to paddleboard at LiveFree Adventures again this summer and create more magical memories on the water.

Whether you're an experienced paddleboarder or a curious novice like me, the serene bliss of immersing yourself in the beauty of the outdoors is an experience that should not be missed.

Visit the link below to book your Livefree Adventures experience - grab a board, paddle out, and let the magic of the water transport you to a world of tranquillity and wonder.

Opening times and location information.

  • Open from 15th July - 4th September, 7 days a week (extra dates coming soon) from 10:00am** - 8:0pm** from Mon-Sun.
  • Pre-bookings only - open for walk-in bookings 30 mins later than pre-bookings.
  • The last hire goes out 1 hour before they close.

Get in contact

To avoid disappointment, it's best to pre-book online however they do also accept Cash, Card, and Contactless at all their sites.

Check out their FAQ's as you will find answers to most of your questions there.

To book your session please use the booking system HERE.

Contact phone number 01225 941188

Find where they're HERE!

Written by Sarah Moon - @sarah_moon

LiveFree Adventures Bath

LiveFree Adventures

Dundas Aqueduct, Bath, Somerset, BA2 7BL

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