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 Association of Inland Navigation Authorities defines inland waterways as “including all navigable and operational, non-tidal channels including rivers, canals and lakes, and all associated land and assets such as lock sites, towpaths and amenity areas – in other words any land which has an impact on, or relationship with an operational waterway. These inland waterways may be in public ownership, have public access, or be privately owned; but all will have the potential to be part of the navigation impact zone.”

Ranging from natural chalk streams rising high on the Yorkshire Wolds and hidden havens to rapid rivers and working navigations, the waterways in the East Riding 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 contribute to economic, environmental and social regeneration. It is this diversity of purpose that makes them so valuable to our local area.

Waterways are integral to flood risk management and land drainage in the Yorkshire Wolds, the East Riding and Hull. Good land and water management is essential for protecting businesses, communities and the environment.

Waterways are a key characteristic of our natural environment. As part of our assemblage of blue-green infrastructure, they provide vital services such as clean drinking water and habitats for plants and wildlife.

The uniqueness of our waterways help to define the distinctive character of the East Riding, creating a sense of place with their fascinating history and heritage.

Our waterways add to the East Riding’s visitor offer, providing opportunities for recreation, navigation and wildlife spotting. They also promote health and wellbeing as they can be used as places for leisure, relaxation, learning and contemplation.

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)

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 of concern. There are three catchment partnerships - for the Hull and East Riding, Humber and Yorkshire Derwent - active in the East Riding. East Riding of Yorkshire Council is involved in all three partnerships.
  • Environment Agency (EA) - The EA is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by Defra. The agency works to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable development.
  • Natural England - Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by Defra. They act as the government’s advisor for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - Established in 1946, this charity is dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring wildlife and wild places in Yorkshire and is part of The Wildlife Trusts movement. The Trust looks after over 100 nature reserves across Yorkshire, and is involved in hundreds of other conservation-related projects.
  • Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) - IDBs are local public authorities that manage flood risk and land drainage within areas of special drainage need in England and Wales. The York Consortium of Drainage Boards and Yorkshire and Humber Drainage Boards (which oversee the drainage boards for the Ouse and Humber, Beverley and North Holderness and South Holderness IDBs) are active in our area.
  • Navigation Authorities - The Association of Inland Navigation Authorities regards navigation authorities as being "those bodies with statutory or other legal responsibility for the management, maintenance and operation of navigable inland waterways for navigation by powered vessels. Some are defined as a statutory navigation authority in their enabling and/or subsequent Acts of Parliament, while others have acquired or inherited the status through local authority powers".
  • Community-based trusts and amenity associations - These voluntary organisations are dedicated to restoring, maintaining, enhancing and promoting our local waterways. Examples in our local area, include the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust, Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, Beverley Barge Preservation Society, Hedon Haven Trust and the Driffield Navigation Amenities Association.
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