River Stour: locks and facilities

Information for boaters on the River Stour.

The River Stour is a natural river with few locks.

You can use a powered boat on the 4km stretch from Ballingdon bridge to Henny Street Weir only. The rest of the river is quite shallow. You can still navigate it but you will need a boat with a shallow draft such as a canoe or rowing boat. There is a speed limit of 4mph on the whole river.

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 Stour locks

There are 3 locks on the River Stour:

  • Great Cornard Lock
  • Dedham Mill Lock
  • Flatford Mill Lock

The lock at Stratford St Mary is being restored by the River Stour Trust.

You must not operate the locks on the River Stour yourself.

Please give the Environment Agency advance notice if you want to pass through any of the locks. You can contact the river inspector through the Environment Agency Customer Contact Centre on 0370 850 6506 (find out about call charges).

The River Stour Trust may also be able to operate the locks on request.

Public slipways and canoe access

Public slipways and ramps are available for use on the River Stour at:

  • Cattawade Barrage in Cattawade, a ramp for small boats only
  • River Stour Trust Building in Sudbury, a slipway is open for registered boats

Other canoe launch and landing sites are available. Contact British Canoeing for more information on access and launch sites.

Canoe portage platforms

Portage platforms on the River Stour are maintained by the Environment Agency and are free for everyone to use.

You can find them at:

  • Great Cornard Mill
  • Henny Weir
  • Shalford Weir
  • Pitmire Weir
  • Dawes Weir
  • Lamarsh Weir/Mill
  • Bures Mill/Weir
  • Wormingford Mill/Weir – please respect the privacy of the owner and keep to the marked route when using this portage and do not loiter
  • Wiston Mill – caution, there’s a steep bank and camber towards the river on this portage route, make sure your canoe descends the downstream portage slope either bow or stern first
  • Nayland Weir
  • Boxted Mill/Weir – portage is via a private garden, please respect the owner’s privacy and keep strictly to the signed portage route
  • Langham Flumes – caution, Langham Flumes gauging station has steep fenced banks and fast flowing water, use portage
  • Stratford St Mary
  • Dedham Mill/Weir – informal shallow beach portage.
  • Flatford Mill/Weir
  • Brantham, Cattawade Bridge – this is a canoe access platform, there is a slip facility for larger boats to access the tidal river

Byelaws on unpowered craft

Unpowered craft (those that are peddled, rowed or sailed) can travel the whole length of the Stour navigation from Brundon Mill to Cattawade. Unless they have an exemption, powered craft are restricted to the length between Ballingdon Bridge and Henny Street.


Read the Anglian waterways guide for information on mooring.

Updates to this page

Published 1 April 2014
Last updated 29 August 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated the telephone number for the river inspector.

  2. First published.

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