11 June 2024

There have always been moorings of a fashion for commercial barges stopping at the Ferry Boat Inn en-route up or down the Trent. The Inn dates from 1823.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, the moorings and associated concrete slipway were maintained by a local sailing club based on the river, but when the sailing club ceased operation at the site just over 40 years ago, the timber and concrete moorings fell into disrepair with only ad hoc repairs carried out by local boaters.

There was a foot ferry across the river by the moorings, to Shelford on the opposite bank. The ferry ceased operation in around the 1950s, but the steps and slipway either side are still present.

The Ferry is an ancient one, being referred to as far back as the year 1275 when it “yielded a mark yearly”.

With a shortage of visitor moorings on the River Trent, local boaters from the Facebook group “Visitor Moorings on the River Trent & Associated Waterways”, led by Robert Aspey (now IWA Nottinghamshire Trent Group Moorings Officer), met on site in 2018 to see what could be done to repair these dilapidated visitor moorings. They were now in a dangerous condition with many planks missing from the fixed timber pontoon, only one mooring ring still present, and overgrowth over the whole site.

When contacted, Canal & River Trust and the brewery that owned the Ferry Boat Inn said they did not know who owned the moorings. Eventually, Severn Trent Water were tracked down as the owners of the freehold. One of their managers agreed to meet the group on site and thanked them for pointing out the poor state of the timber moorings, as the water company would have been liable for any accidents.

With some financial help for materials from Severn Trent Water, IWA and The Boating Association, over a 4 year period the boaters carried out the following improvements:

  • Replaced all the missing planks,
  • Cleared the whole site of overgrowth and self seeded trees
  • Secured new moorings rings into the timber pontoon and concrete hardstanding moorings
  • Formed access steps
  • Repaired the two benches
  • Fitted safety signage
  • Fitted two drop down bollards to restrict access to the slipway at the behest of Severn Trent Water.
  • Dredged the river along the edge of the moorings

Severn Trent Water informed the group that the moorings were on a section of leased land, but no one held the lease at present. In order to secure future use of the moorings for boaters,  IWA entered into negotiations to secure the lease. This was concluded on 2nd May 2024.  IWA’s new signage at the moorings can be viewed here.

Now IWA holds the lease, there are additional improvements to undertake, such as additional dredging and signage.

IWA will maintain the site, so additional volunteers are always welcome. Please post your interest on our Facebook group “Visitor Moorings on the River Trent & Associated Waterways”, or contact Robert Aspey via IWA Head Office.

Facilities for boaters at the site:

  • The visitor moorings are free to use at your own risk for a maximum of 48 hours.
  • The Ferry Boat Inn welcomes visiting boaters.
  • Plenty of free car parking at the site.
  • The nearest Shops are at Burton Joyce 1 mile away.
  • The site has public grassed areas on the bankside with attractive views across the river.

At low water levels, the depth alongside the moorings varies between 2 foot at the upstream end to 3 foot 6 inches at the downstream end, but quickly deepens away from the edge of the moorings into the river. However the river level can rise dramatically with its huge catchment area.  Heavy rain in the Southern Pennines and Birmingham all finds its way down the Trent. With the moorings being fixed, boaters need to keep their mooring lines loose and never leave their boat unattended for more than a few hours in case the river level rises.


[The photos show the moorings at Stoke Bardolph – by Robert Aspey]