River Ancholme: bridge heights, locks and facilities

Information for boaters on the River Ancholme.

The River Ancholme runs straight for 17 miles, from rural Lincolnshire to the Humber Estuary at Ferriby Bridge.

Visit the Inland Waterways Association website to see the Fens Waterways map and about the Waterways Link project.

Read the recreational byelaws for Anglian waterways.

River Ancholme bridge heights

When approaching a bridge, ensure there is enough space between your boat and the roof of the bridge to allow your boat to pass safely. Headroom will be indicated by a gauge board on the bridge.

This table shows the distance between standard water level and the highest point for each bridge on the River Ancholme. These distances are approximate because river levels fluctuate.

Location Headway (metres) Headway (feet)
Ferriby Belt 13.0 42’65
Electric Cable 17.36 56’95
Horkstow Bridge 4.76 15’62
Saxby Bridge 3.98 13’06
Railway Bridge 4.32 14’17
Water Pipe 4.44 14’57
Broughton Bridge 4.73 15’52
Multi-Fuel Pipe 6.23 20’44
Castlethorpe Bridge 4.68 15’35
M189 Motorway Bridge 4.19 13’75
Gas Pipe 6.55 21’49
Glanford Bridge - on the Old River 3.43 11’25
Town Bridge - On the Old River 2.49 8’17
A18 Cake Mills Bridge 3.42 11’22
Electric Cable 12.53 41’11
Cadney Road Railway Bridge - On the Old River 5.74 18’83
Electric Cable 12.53 41’11
Railway Bridge 4.59 15’06
Cadney Bridge 4.32 14’17
Hibaldstow Bridge 4.04 13’25
Brandy Wharf 2.38 7’81
Snitterby Bridge 3.53 11’58

River Ancholme locks

There are two locks on the River Ancholme: South Ferriby Lock at the confluence with the River Humber and Harlam Hill Lock upstream of Brandy Wharf.

South Ferriby Lock

South Ferriby Lock is the only lock on this river staffed by the Environment Agency. It’s over 150 years old and is protected as a Scheduled Monument.

It can hold boats up to 5.5 metres (18ft) in beam and 20.5 metres (68ft) in length.

Harlam Hill Lock

Harlam Hill Lock isn’t a staffed lock. The Environment Agency controls access through Harlam Hill Lock. You will need a navigation key to use this lock.

Registered boat users can buy navigation keys from the local river inspector or the Environment Agency. To buy a navigation key from the Environment Agency email or phone 0118 953 5650.

A windlass to fit 2.6cm square is needed to operate the paddles at Harlam Hill Lock. Turning is restricted upstream to boats up to 14m/46ft only.

Lock keeper hours of duty at South Ferriby Lock

Staff from the Environment Agency are available at the South Ferriby Lock during the following hours:

Normal working hours:

  • Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: 7:30am to 4pm
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 7:30am to 3pm

Lock keepers lunch break varies according to tide.

Between 1 April and 31 October in normal working hours you don’t need to book to use the lock but it’s sensible to consult lock keepers in advance. Outside normal working hours you should book to use the lock 24 hours in advance, but lock keepers are on standby.

Between 1 November and 31 March you should book to use the lock; lock keepers are available by pre-arranged booking only. Call to make your booking during normal working hours. Outside normal working hours you need to give 24 hours notice to use the lock.

Check notices displayed at the lock to see if the lock is unavailable for any other reason.

South Ferriby lock keeper telephone number: 01652 635219.

Tidal passage

Registered boats and visitors to the River Ancholme can pass through South Ferriby Lock every day from approximately 3 hours before and after high water, until official sunset time.

To use the tidal passage during this time contact the lock keeper on 01652 635219 to arrange passage in advance.

Warning: The Humber Estuary is characterised by strong currents and shifting mud banks and shoals. Boats navigating the estuary should ensure they are well equipped and have a competent master in charge. We also recommend you contact Humber Estuary Services.

Public slipways

The only public slipway on the River Ancholme is at Brandy Wharf Leisure Park. It’s suitable for small boats that can be trailer mounted and towed. The slipway is managed by Brandy Wharf Leisure Park.

Speed limit

A general speed limit of 11.2kmh (7mph) applies throughout the Ancholme navigation. However, between Coal Dyke, Brigg and Bishopbridge a limit of 6.41kmh (4mph) applies.

Take care at all times to respect other river users and to protect the water environment and wildlife.


Read the Anglian waterways guide for information on mooring.

Published 31 March 2014