AN author who was born and bred in Halstead says he was inspired to write his first book after setting sail on Britain’s rivers in a homemade canoe.

Matt Gaw joined his friend James Treadway in their canoe to explore rivers including ones which he says had run through his childhood.

Mr Gaw, 37, launched his book Pull of the River at an event at a Waterstones store in Bury St Edmunds after a year long journey which took him as far away as the rivers of Scotland.

He said: “My friend James built a canoe in his back garden - as you do - and we just decided to take it for a wet run.

“We got a real taste for it and a feel for the water and ended up in the pub planning our next journeys.

“We went along the rivers Stour and Colne which hold a lot of memories from the past for me because that’s where we would be taken to play, muck about and go paddling.

“But we also found ourselves going further afield and travelling along the Caledonian in Scotland."

He left Halstead at the age of 18 to pursue a career in journalism spending time working in regional newspapers and he currently plays a role in the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s magazine.

But he was drawn to return to Essex and explore the rivers which he says played a big part in his life growing up.

Mr Gaw said the journey had drawn inspiration from Roger Deakin’s book Waterlog which saw him swim the rivers, lakes and seas of Britain.

He said: “Really theses rivers had run through my childhood but I knew so little about them.

"I can’t wait to go back out on the water again and to have that feeling of adventure again."

The book is available online and in book stores now.