East Anglian Waterways Association
to the navigations of East Anglia for all
Explore our Waterways
EAWA campaigns for the preservation, restoration and good management of
all inland and tidal waterways in East Anglia.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are a key area along with the main
rivers - the Great Ouse, Nene, Welland and Witham.
work also covers lesser known waterways from the Chelmer in the south,
the Blyth in the east to the Ancholme in the north plus the extensive
Middle Level Navigations.
was first constructed in 1651 to exclude the tidal waters of the River
Great Ouse from the South Level rivers. It was destroyed in
and rebuilt by Swiss engineer, Labelye in 1750. The present Sluice
(with alterations made in 1923) dates from 1834 and was built by Sir
John Rennie. The main
sluice incorporates one large vertical gate (now permanently
sealed) and three smaller 'eyes' plus a navigation lock. The
Denver Complex now includes four additional sluices each serving a
vital purpose in flood control or water management plus a Control
building and Superintendent's accommodation.
The A.G. Wright
Sluice, first commissioned in 1964, allows water from the
Ely Ouse to be diverted in times
of high flow into the eleven mile long Relief Channel for discharge
closer to Kings Lynn.
allows water from the Ely Ouse to be sent via the Cut-Off Channel,
various Pumping Stations, an underground pipeline and a waterway
network for storage in Essex reservoirs.
allows for flows in the Cut-Off Channel to be 'reversed' in connection
with the Ely Ouse/Essex water transfer scheme.
A smaller Residual
maintains a small flow to refresh the Relief Channel and also monitors
low flow rates.
The most recent
addition to the Denver Complex was a new Navigation Lock,
2002, which now allows boats to navigate the Relief Channel to Downham
Market. It is an aspiration that one day another lock will be
incorporated into the Tail Sluice at the Kings Lynn end of the Relief
Channel. This would enable craft to navigate safely to Kings Lynn and
out into the Wash without using the Great Ouse Tidal River below Denver
which has suffered so badly from silting in recent years.
Photos & narrative about Bourne and Bourne Eau, plus Map of
Bourne and the rivers.
EAWA is promoting restoration of Bourne Eau (to connect
Bourne to the
Glen), the Stamford Canal (a canalised extension of the Welland into
Stamford) and Clay Dike, (which connects the Sleaford Navigation to
South Forty Foot Drain, via the former Maryland Lock.
Level Navigations lie in The Fens between the Rivers Nene and
and between the cities of Peterborough and Cambridge.
Most of the area through which they run is at or below sea level, and
attempts to protect it from inundation have been carried out since
1480. The Middle Level was given its name by the Dutch
in 1642, who subsequently constructed several drainage channels to make
the area suitable for agriculture. Water levels were always managed to
allow navigation, and Commissioners were established in 1754 to
maintain the waterways and collect tolls from commercial traffic.
of the Middle Level Navigations form a key link between the River Great
Ouse and the River Nene and access to the canal system. A
secondary route via the Forty Foot River, Welches Dam Lock and the Old
Bedford River is closed at present due to deterioration of the lock,
water loss in the Forty Foot and neglect of the Old Bedford River,
despite this being a statutory navigation which the Environment Agency
have a duty to maintain under the Anglian Water Authority Act 1977.
Both EAWA and the IWA are campaigning vigourously to ensure that this
route is reinstated as soon as possible and not lost for the future.
The Stamford Canal
Sixteenth century the people of Stamford submitted a petition to the
crown asking permission to improve the navigation of the river Welland
between Stamford and Market Deeping by creating a new cut to bypass the
watermills. A 'Navigation Act' was signed by Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1571.
promotion of the restoration of this waterway by East Anglian Waterways
Association, Fens Tourism (a consortium of local authorities) undertook
a feasibility study of the route. This report was encouraging and EA
adopted the project as ‘The Fens Waterways Link’, which it launched in
2004 with support from local authorities, EAWA and IWA..
makes way for waterway works
Giant concrete blocks removed in first stage of
£8 million project
By Graeme Holmes - graeme.holmes AT targetseries.co.uk
A 90 TONNE concrete structure that has stood guard in
river for 50 years has been removed to make way for the new
£8 million Boston Lock....
Ancholme is a river in North Lincolnshire, England, and a
tributary of the River Humber. The peaceful River Ancholme runs
straight as an arrow for 17 miles
It rises south of Bishopbridge (west of Market Rasen),
Brigg and flows into the Humber at South Ferriby. There is an historic
suspension bridge crossing the navigation at Horkstow .
a little-known river that rises
near Baldock in Hertfordshire and flows down
through Stotfold, Henlow, Langford, Biggleswade, Sandy
and Blunham to join the Great Ouse at Tempsford.
Compiled by Alan Faulkner
By the beginning of the
1900s the River Great Ouse was effectively
closed to navigation from St. Ives upstream from St. Ives up to Bedford
as the locks were inoperable. Various attempts were made to re-open
some of the locks for pleasure traffic, notably at the Bedford end, but
these were short-lived.
THE RIVER LARK, An
outline history by Alan H. Faulkner.
A recommended external link to the
River Lark pages at St Edmundsbury Chronicle 2000 - a wealth of
history, surveys and an extensive photographic library.
IWA Branch, Cambridge
The river gives access to Reach, Burwell, Swaffham and Wickham
and connects with the Great Ouse.
Conservators of the
- are the statutory navigation authority for Cambridge between
Mill Pond, Silver Street, Cambridge to Bottisham Lock with lesser
responsibilities up-stream to Byron's Pool.
established in 1995 to promote the development of a broad
waterway which will link the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes to the
river Great Ouse in Bedford
In all, a total of seven
locks were built, of which five were used in order to bypass
the water mills. Each lock was 72 feet by 15 feet
to allow the passage of the Yorkshire Keels.
Gipping Trust is preserving the historic heritage of the Ipswich
and Stowmarket Navigation
by restoring the structures that enabled navigation of the River
Gipping from the docks in Ipswich to Stowmarket and caring for the
flora and fauna of The Gipping Valley.
|The Chelmer Canal Trust Limited is
a registered charity, and voluntary group whose main focus is The Chelmer
and Blackwater Navigation and it's environs.
|Since its formation, the Trust has restored Flatford
and Dedham Locks,
Flatford Barge Dock (in association with the National Trust), the Quay
Basin, Gasworks Cut and The Granary at Quay Lane, Sudbury and rescued
an original River Stour Lighter as well as
organised regular working parties to maintain the locks and structure
in its care.
|The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is
Britain's largest protected wetland and third largest inland
waterway, with the status of a national park. It's also home
to some of the rarest plants and animals in the UK.
The Broads Authority was set up in 1989, with responsibility for
conservation, planning, recreation and waterways.
East Anglian Waterways Association is a believer in "Waterways for All"
- promoting access to our navigations for the community - whether
walkers, nature lovers, anglers, canoeists, boaters or gongoozlers.
We work with and support many local societies, trusts and
user bodies in the area - Please visit our LINKS page for more
- East Anglian Waterways Association Limited - Reg.
895405 - Registered Charity