HIGH tide, clear skies and a paddleboard are all Melanie needed to make her “fall back in love” with her home town again.

Melanie Miller has lived in the Harwich area with her husband, Richard, for the past 23 years.

However, it was not until she started paddleboarding around the area that she got a new perspective on her home town.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Night paddle - Melanie has also paddled during the evening Pictures: Melanie Miller 

The 47-year-old discovered a passion for kayaking in 2018, but she moved on to paddleboarding because the inflatable board was easier to carry and transport.

Melanie said the sport has enabled her to see Harwich from a completely different angle.

Melanie, who lives in Little Oakley, said: “Harwich has been somewhere which I have learned to love all over again.

“The town is a bit depressed at the moment with some empty shops, but when you come out to sea on your paddleboard you get to see the town from a completely different perspective.

“It’s amazing to see.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Adventure - on the way to Dedham 

The mum-of-two learned to paddleboard on a family holiday a few years ago.

Then, when Melanie and Richard, 45, went kayaking in Devon on holiday they realised they could do the same back home.

They bought a kayak, but Melanie was dependant on Richard attaching it to the roof of their car.

The mum-of-two then decided to give paddleboarding a go instead as she could transport the board independently.

Melanie, who sells her own eco-friendly soap on Amazon, said: “My job is quite flexible, so if the weather conditions are right I can quickly go out on the paddleboard during working hours by myself.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Clear skies - Richard at a scenic spot near Harwich 

A recent highlight for Melanie was paddling nine miles from Wrabness to Harwich in her longest solo trip to date.

The former National Office for Statistics worker passed Wrabness Woods, Harwich International Port, Bathside Bay and Ha’Penny Pier on her paddleboard.

“The last few years I have been quite exercise conscious and paddleboarding is a good way of keeping fit and working out the whole body,” Melanie added.

“But it is relaxing at the same time being out on the water.”

Wither her newfound confidence on a board, Melanie decided to organise a group paddle at the end of August in Harwich.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Company - Melanie also paddles with groups of people

She advertised the event on East of England Paddlesports Facebook page the day before the paddle to its 5,000 members.

Despite the short notice, a total of 22 people from across the region joined Melanie on the trip.

She added: “It was an early 4.30am start and we all watched the sunrise.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Buddy - Melanie's dog enjoying a free ride 

“It was high tide and clear skies that day - and a great day for a paddle.”

She hopes to continue paddleboarding into the autumn.

Melanie added: “I enjoy doing it alone, with a group or with my family.

“It’s a really inclusive activity to do.

“I have seen all shapes and sizes and all abilities on paddleboards.

“It’s a really good way to get out there and see what the area has to offer.”

Where you can paddleboard in the area: 

  • The River Stour is a popular place for paddleboarders.
  • Paddleboarders can launch at Cattawade, near Manningtree, and go upstream 1.5 miles to Flatford.
  • Boarders can continue paddling upstream towards Dedham which is another 1.5 miles from Flatford, or they can continue for miles to Stratford St Mary or Nayland.
  • It is about 27 miles from Cattawade to Sudbury, which takes about two days to paddle with an overnight camping stop. 
  • People can also paddle nine miles along the coast from Wrabness to Harwich. 
  • Langham flumes to Cattawade is 7.4 miles.
  • For short paddles, boards can be launched at Manningtree beach or Dovercourt beach. 

To check the tide times over the coming weeks in the Tendring area and months click here