The East Anglian Waterways Association

Promoting access to the navigations of East Anglia for all

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The EAWA campaigns for the preservation, restoration and good management of all inland and tidal waterways in East Anglia.

The Association is a Registered Charity (No. 251382) and was first established in 1958.

 Our Waterways

East Anglia's waterways are diverse, from the main rivers - the river Great Ouse, the Nene, Welland and the Witham and their smaller navigable tributaries through to the unique  Norfolk Broads.  These are all key areas of the Association's  work.

But our mission to preserve and improve the region's waterways also covers many rather less well-known rivers  - from the Chelmer in the South, the Blyth in the East, the Ancholme in the North to the Ivel in the West of our region.  And almost unique to our area are the many miles of historic man-made navigable channels of the Middle Level and the Cambridgeshire Lodes dug to drain the Fens over a century before work started on the UK canal system.

Explore our waterways HERE.

Hartford Marina Lodges NOT 'vessels' say High Court Judges
The Environment Agency's appeal to the High Court against a decision by Peterborough Crown Court to quash convictions of two owners of static floating lodges for failure to register their homes as vessels has been dismissed.
The three senior judges were unanimous in their opinion that the homes were not vessels for the purposes of the EA (Inland Waterways) Order 2010.  They rejected most of the arguments advanced by the EA's Counsel, Mr David Perry QC and found that the lodges were constructed and used as homes on water and not to "carry" people or things or to be "propelled or moved" across the water. On a realistic view of the facts they are not "vessels" for the purposes of the Order.

Read the full 42-page High Court Judgment HERE
15th April 2016

NEW - the latest edition of 'The Easterling'

The Easterling - Journal of the EAWA
  JUNE 2016
Vol. 9, No. 15

The latest issue of the association's journal has just been published with news and pictures of our waterways and interesting feature articles.

Review of Environment Agency navigations

A statement from EA and CaRT issued 19th February 2016

The Environment Agency (EA) and Canal & River Trust (the Trust) have established a joint working group to explore different options for running the 620 miles of EA-managed river navigations.  It still remains the Government’s ambition to transfer the EA’s responsibility for navigation of the rivers to the Trust, subject to affordability and approval by the Trust’s Board and the Minister.  This will help realise the benefits of a sustainable navigation and give the public greater involvement in the running of the waterways.
The working group is at a very early, information gathering stage, and no decisions have yet been made on the details of a potential move.
The working group will begin with an information and data gathering exercise looking at all of the EA’s navigations, including: the non-tidal River Thames; the River Wye; the upper Medway; the East Anglian navigations and Rye Harbour.
As the project moves forward the working group will investigate the various potential options required for such a complex move and will be seeking to understand your views and aspirations as well as those of other stakeholders.
The EA, the Trust and Defra are committed to finding a sustainable future for the EA’s river navigations and to working with the communities who use them.

Project Hereward
- Technical Progress and a Funding Boost - READ MORE

The Old Bedford River
Marie IIRoy and Lois Parker, in their cruiser Marie II have succeeded in making the first passage for several years through the Old Bedford Sluice.  They cruised for a mile southwards before eventually being stopped by weed.  The narrowboat Olive Emily was unable to negotiate the sluice on this occasion. The sluice and channel are heavily silted.  This waterway will become very important when the Forty Foot River and Welches Dam Lock are restored as a through or circular route for the Middle Level system.
Our Mission

The EAWA believes 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 other user bodies throughout East Anglia.

We publish a regular newsletter - 'The Easterling' - bringing together information on the waterways of our area.   Want to read the latest issue?  Just CLICK HERE

EAWA arranges work-parties for waterway restoration, improvement and maintenance and offers advice, support and funding to local organisations with similar aims.
East Anglian Waterways Association and Peterborough IWA
have joined forces in PROJECT HEREWARD to re-open
the Forty Foot between the Middle Level and Great Ouse
system via  Horseway and Welches Dam as a

 The Project Hereward team now meets every month to develop the programme of action to meet its aims.

Watch the new PROJECT HEREWARD presentation here

Good News from the Little Ouse

Progress on Thetford Council's exciting new bid to bring boats back into the town centre

Thetford Town Council has now agreed a sum of 15,000 (max) towards the feasibility study and also been invited by the neighbouring Breckland District Council to apply for 20,000 matched grant funding. Breckland is in turn negotiating with Forest Heath District Council seeking added support.  EAWA welcomes this initiative. Re-opening the Little Ouse navigation will bring economic and other benefits to a wider area of West Norfolk.
Tina Cunnell, leading the project for Thetford TC, is working  on the Water Space Study and will discuss with the Environment Agency integration into the wider regional strategy.

Full news of the Town Council's Plans and other background information  ...   Click here

 The Present
  • Supporting the work of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, established by the EAWA, to restore the navigation and improve the waterway for all, in co-operation with the canal owners.
  • Working with partners to support the Fens Waterways Link, a long-term project to join and extend the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire waterways for navigation.
  • Working with IWA Peterborough on Project Hereward to re-open the Old Bedford/Forty Foot southern link of the Middle Level and Great Ouse systems.
  • Supporting the Sleaford Trust, working to reopen the upper part of the navigation within the town.
  • Supporting the River Gipping Trust in its aim to preserve the historic heritage of the Stowmarket Navigation.
  • Working closely with the Nene Waterway Task Group and the Great Ouse Boating Association and campaigning for improved management of these rivers.
  • Working with the Broads Authority and other bodies interested in the Norfolk Broads.
  • Making our East Anglian Waterways better known by arranging trips or activities, such as in conjunction with our AGM.

Recent work parties organised by the Trust have made great progress in the section above Ebridge Lock, particularly around Bacton Wood and Pigneys Wood.   Our picture shows the volunteers clearing weed from the mouth of Ebridge Lock in August 2015.  The Trust always welcomes new volunteers and full details can be found on our WORK PARTY page or on the NW&DC TRUST website or by calling  01603 738648.

Picture: Kevin Thomas / Alan Bertram

The River Blyth Navigation - a future restoration project?
This little known Suffolk waterway running for 10-miles from Halesworth to the sea at Southwold was once an important navigation. There were originally five locks in total in the 4 mile non-tidal stretch from Halesworth down to Blyford.
A half-mile section in Halesworth, registered as a 'village green' is being cared for by volunteers.  The HALESWORTH NEW REACH TRAIL is an interesting walk of about a mile following the old navigation channel from the Town Quay to Halesworth Lock.

Download the informative HALESWORTH NEW REACH TRAIL guide.

More information at:   www.millenniumgreen.halesworth.net

  The Future

  • EAWA will be involved with numerous small projects around the waterways of East Anglia - opening access to all.
  • We will continue to support and assist the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust to further the outstanding progress it has made in restoring this waterway.
  • We will campaign for the reopening of the Little Ouse from Brandon to Thetford and offer support to Thetford Town Council with its new plans.
  • We will support the proposed Milton Keynes to Bedford Canal link to the Great Ouse.
  • We will support a better link between Kings Lynn and the Inland Waterways Network.

The Association's 45th Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 19th April at South Kyme beside the River Slea.

A conducted tour of the improved Sleaford Navigation preceded an excellent lunch at The Hume Arms. 

Then it was on to the formal business of the day followed by a presentation on the work of the Slea Navigation Trust.

Full details in the June issue of 'The Easterling'.

.......... Read more >>>


   The Past

Since its formation in 1958, the EAWA can count some notable successes where we have worked hand-in-hand with other organisations:
  • The reopening of Well Creek
  • The dredging of the Old West River in the mid 1960s.
  • The restoration of Welches Dam Lock
  • Lock lengthening on the Middle Level navigation
  • Donations to the Sleaford Navigation Trust to purchase part of the navigation
  • Donations to Peterborough IWA to help raise Ramsey Hollow Bridge on the Forty Foot River.
  • The restoration of Tyler's Cut (Dilham Dyke)

East Anglian Waterways Association
has worked for over 50-years
to protect and improve

the region's waterways.

Help us in our mission

Download our membership brochure
and JOIN US today for just 5

When you click the waterways, you go to the page with the waterways data!

(Or Go To East Anglian Waterways in table form, without the map!)

The Complete Anglian Waterways Navigation Guide Suite has arrived!

Paul Separovic, the Anglian Waterways Development Recreation Officer - Central Area (River Great Ouse) has recently announced that the completed Navigation Guides Suite is now finished and is available in hard paper format and electronic versions.
The complete suite consists of the following publications:
  • 'Enjoying Safer Boating, Staying Safe on Anglian Waterways, Safety Guide'
  • 'Boating the right way, Recreational Byelaws, Anglian Waterways'
  • 'The River Ancholme, a guide for river users'
  • 'The Rivers Welland and Glen, a guide for river users'
  • 'The River Nene, a guide for river users'
  • 'The River Great Ouse, a guide for river users'
  • 'The River Stour , a guide for users of the navigation'
Fens Waterways - There is a brochure request option on this page, otherwise please write to;

Waterways Team,
Environment Agency,
Kingfisher House,
Goldhay Way,
Orton Goldhay,
PE2 5ZR.

Although available online - and useful for browsing or for a screen shot - the best print can only be obtained by sending for an original.
Ivan Cane

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The 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 other user bodies in the area  -  Please visit our LINKS page for more information.
 2013 - East Anglian Waterways Association Limited - Reg. 895405    -     Registered Charity No. 251382
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