About our local inland waterways

Information about our local waterways, including where they are, why they are important, and who manages them.

What are inland waterways?

The term ‘inland waterways’ is most commonly associated with navigable canals, yet the East Riding boasts a diversity far broader than this definition. Ranging from natural chalk streams rising high on the Yorkshire Wolds and hidden havens to rapid rivers and working navigations, the water bodies in our area are diverse and unique and contribute to the fascinating landscape character of our area.

Why are our inland waterways important?

Our waterways are important because they can be used to support economic, environmental and social regeneration. It is this diversity of purpose that makes them so valuable to our local area. 

Waterways are an increasingly important part of the East Riding’s sustainable transport network. They help to promote trade within and outside the area and they are integral to agricultural productivity and good farming practice.

There is also the potential to develop our waterways so they contribute to the East Riding’s growing nature and recreational tourism offer. Our waterways are also part of the East Riding’s fascinating history and heritage.

Our waterways are integral to flood risk management because they are crucial to the drainage of the Yorkshire Wolds and the East Riding. Good land and water management is essential for business, people and the environment.

Waterways are a key aspect of our natural environment, providing vital green and blue infrastructure and habitats for wildlife. They also promote health and wellbeing in our communities because they can be used as places for recreation, relaxation and learning.

In addition, our waterways are integral to the unique character of the East Riding, helping to create a sense of place and a source of civic pride.

Where are our inland waterways?

The following waterways are located wholly or in part in the East Riding:

Aire and Calder Navigation; Beverley Beck; Driffield Navigation; Dutch River; Gypsey Race; Hedon Haven; Hornsea Mere; Leven Canal; Market Weighton Canal; Pocklington Canal; River Aire; River Derwent; River Foulness; River Hertford; River Hull; and River Ouse (Lower). 

You can view these waterways on the map below:

Our inland waterways (pdf 424kb opens in new window)

You can find information about our waterways on the East and North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership’s website:

East and North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership (external website)

Who manages our inland waterways?

Responsibility for our waterways is shared by numerous public, private and third sector bodies and by riparian owners (individuals and organisations who own land adjoining a water body).

East Riding of Yorkshire Council is one of the public sector organisations responsible for managing our waterways. We do this through our regulatory role in planning and development management, land drainage and flood risk management and through our local strategies, plans and partnerships dedicated to sustainable economic development.

Other managing groups and organisations include, but are not limited to, the following (in alphabetical order):

  • Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways) - This national charity and membership organisation is entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. In addition to maintaining a range of waterways, the Trust manages a vast network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs.
  •  Catchment Partnerships - Sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the catchment based approach (CaBA) addresses the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and other water-related issues through integrated, community-led action. Catchment partnerships use CaBA to identify shared aims, opportunities and issues and work collaboratively to deliver improvements across their areas. In the East Riding, the Hull and East Riding, Humber and Yorkshire Derwent catchment partnerships are active.
  • Environment Agency - Sponsored by Defra, this executive non-departmental public body is responsible for regulating major industry and waste treatment of contaminated land, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations, and conservation and ecology.
  • Natural England - Sponsored by Defra, this executive non-departmental public body is the government’s adviser for the natural environment, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. These services include drinking water, air and water quality, climate regulation, green spaces, and recreation, wellbeing and learning opportunities.
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - This local charity works to protect and conserve Yorkshire's wild places and wildlife for all to enjoy. The Trust operates over 100 nature reserves including Spurn Point, Skerne Wetlands and Flamborough Cliffs here in the East Riding.
  • Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) - IDBs are public bodies that manage water levels in some areas where there is a special need for drainage. They undertake works to reduce flood risk to people and property, and manage water levels for agricultural and environmental needs.
  • Navigation Authorities - These organisations have a statutory or other legal responsibility for the management and operation of inland waterways for navigation and wider economic, social and environmental benefits. Their powers are set out in Acts of Parliament but this does not imply ownership of these waterways.
  • Community-based trusts and amenity associations - These voluntary groups are dedicated to restoring, maintaining, enhancing and promoting our local waterways.  Examples include the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust, Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, Beverley Barge Preservation Society, Hedon Haven Trust and the Driffield Navigation Amenities Association.

Stay connected

Sign up for the latest news and updates from East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

We will use GovDelivery to send you emails, it is secure and you can choose to stop receiving emails at any time. Find out more in our Privacy notice.