Thrills and spills of white water sports

08 October 2011

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Leathborough, Lee Valley White Water CentreLeathborough, Lee Valley White Water Centre

Lee Valley White Water Centre is the only London 2012 venue the public can use and enjoy ahead of the Games.

Situated in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, the Centre will host the Olympic Canoe Slalom competition and in 2015, it will host the Canoe Slalom World Championships.

The Centre has two courses: a 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course with a 5.5m descent and a 160m Legacy Loop with a 1.6m descent. Five water pumps power 13,000 litres of water a second down the Olympic Course, which is enough to fill 75 bath tubs every second.

Since opening in April 2011, visitor numbers have exceeded expectations, with more than 120,000 coming to raft, canoe, kayak or spectate during the summer. The Centre has also helped to boost numbers visiting the rest of the River Lee Country Park.

Rafting fun at Lea Valley White Water Centre

The Centre attracts elite paddle sportspeople and the facilities are used by schools and local communities. Rafting sessions are popular as birthday presents, hen and stag dos and corporate teambuilding days. The Centre has been used for filming TV programmes such as Live ‘n’ Deadly on CBBC and Jo Brand’s Big Splash on Dave. It has attracted celebrities and sports personalities including Formula One driver Mark Webber. We have had a Bishop and an Archdeacon go rafting and the venue also hosted Amwell Rotary Club’s charity duck race.

The Centre will close to the public on 16 October 2011 and will reopen in the New Year for three months for anyone who wants to experience the rapids before the Olympics.

Posted by  Si-Ling Pang, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

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