Great Britain » Great Ouse River | England

The most important waterway from the Fens to the Wash


Great Ouse River | England: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 124 km
Number of locks: 15
Lock dimensions: 26.90 x 3.10
Max. depth: 0.60
Max. headroom: 2.30
Degree of difficulty: For beginners (many locks)
Requirements: no rating
Character of waterway: with urban surroundings, for sporty people, Waterway in reclusion
Profile of waterway: no rating
Facilities groundside: Not sufficiant

Weitere Informationen

Waterway has access to:


River Great Ouse
was developed for navigation in the 17th century already, together with the very often also navigable de-watering canals of the huge fens south of the Wash. It was then, with the Bedford-Milton-Keynes link, the shortest connection from the Wash and over the Grand Union Canal to the southwest of London.
At about 1900, navigation above St. Ives was not guaranteed anymore, shortly before the First World War, one could get as far as Eaton Socon again.
Since 1978 all the way from the Wash to Bedford is open. The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust tries very hard to reconstruct the link to the Grand Union Canal again. However, this causes a lot of problems like Motorways or new housing estates where the old canal used to be.

Confluences of the Fens:
River Wissey / Length: 16 km, headroom: 2.40 m
southerly of Denver River Wissey flows out of the Great Ouse eastwards. With small boats it's navigable until Whittington. Until Wissington, about half the way, the river has, depending on the weather, a draught of about 1.80m.

Little Ouse River / Length: 36 km, headroom: 2.70, draught: 1.30
Flows between Lark and Wissey eastwards too, out of the Old West. The river is navigable until Brandon and is also called River Brandon.

River Lark / Length: 18 km, headroom: 3.10, draught: 0.70 m
flows out of the Old West, parallel to Little Ouse, eastwards. Boats up to 13.50 m can turn around at Judes Ferry Bridge. Small paddling boats can continue for about another 3 km until Mildenhall. 

Houseboat & Narrow Boat Hirer

Bridgeboadyard, Ely Cambridgeshire