Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre

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A view of the Sports Centre across the rowing lake

The National Watersports Centre, Holme Pierrepont is located in the hamlet of Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham, England and on the River Trent. It is used for many different types of sports.

Run by Serco on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, it is one of five National Sports Centres, a unique sporting venue set in the centre of the country.


Set in 270 acres (1.1 km2) of parkland, the water sports centre is an ideal environment for water activities. The centre is made up of three distinct pieces of water:[1]

  • Regatta lake, a 2,000 metre regatta rowing facility which features a six lane rowing course
  • A 700 m purpose-built white water canoe slalom course
  • A water ski lagoon equipped with slalom course and ski jump as well as a ski cableway.

Further, the River Trent is also accessible from the site. This is supported by an indoor training hall which is suitable for testing and is also available for indoor sports. The facilities provide a full range of award courses in:

  • Dinghy sailing
  • Windsurfing
  • Canoeing
  • Rowing
  • Water-skiing
  • Powerboat handling
  • Kayaking.

A sports science and medicine centre is purpose built and is available for use by governing bodies for physiology, sports injury/rehabilitation and physiological testing.

This is supported by an indoor training hall which is suitable for testing and is also available for indoor sports such as five-a-side football, badminton and volleyball.

The main centre building provides conference rooms, dining room, a bar, and accommodation for up to 85 people.

Whitewater course[edit]

Holme Pierrepont
Locale Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham
Website http://www.nwscnotts.com/
Main shape linear
Length 700 metres (2,297 ft)
Drop 4 metres (13 ft)
Water source River Trent
Flowrate 16 m3/s (570 cu ft/s) - 25 m3/s (880 cu ft/s)
Canoe lift No
Construction 1986
Date upgraded 2009
Coordinates Coordinates: 52°56′42″N 1°05′13″W / 52.9449°N 1.0870°W / 52.9449; -1.0870

The course is a focal point for English whitewater rafting and kayaking, often holding international events for slalom, freestyle and wild water racing. One hosted event is the National Student Rodeo, the largest freestyle kayaking event in the world. During this event the Centre received coverage in local news, and publications such as Canoe & Kayak UK magazine.


The whitewater course is located between the weir on the canalised River Trent and the regatta lake.


Built in 1986, the course is made primarily from concrete. It is approximately 1500 metres long, drops just over 4 metres in height to produce Grade 3 whitewater rapids. The course is gravity fed, does not use electricity to power it, and therefore is relatively cheap to run.

Due to the nature of the design, swimming through the course is safer than many other locations around the UK due to deep channels and few significant underwater obstructions.

The amount of water flowing through the course depends on rainfall, and canal usage, but due to the large catchment of the Trent, flows between 16 and 25 cubic metres per second are common. The course is more likely to close due to too much water (in the winter), rather than too little. The length of the regatta lake is cut up into many 250m sections. The course had a refit in 2009. Along with essential maintenance, some of the original concrete obstacles were removed and Omniflots (large plastic movable blocks) were added.


The Holme Pierrepont Canoe Club gives lessons on the flat water lake and the course, which is also used for water safety and water rescue training. It also hosts rafting, playboating, slalom; kayaking plus squirt boaters, open boat canoeists and wild water racing.

One of the main sports held at the centre is rowing, utilising the 2000 metre multi-lane rowing lake. The Centre was the venue for the World Rowing Junior Championships in 1973, and for the World Rowing Championships in 1975 and 1986, and many major competitions for UK rowing. Typically the safety is outsourced to local lifeguard unit Colwick Park Lifeguards who have been part of the team at Holme Pierrepont since 1979.

The centre is the base for the Holme Pierrepont Running Club.

The centre was chosen to host the Sea Scout 100 national Sea Scout Centenary Jamboree in August 2009. Over 3000 Sea Scouts attended including the USA and New Zealand.

See also[edit]

Other UK artificial whitewater courses


  1. ^ "National Water Sports Centre – Our Water". nwscnotts.com. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 

External links[edit]