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Billinghay Skirth

Billinghay Skirth is a winding river navigation, and runs from the River Witham (near Tattershall) for about 2.5 miles (4 km) to the village of Billinghay.

Billinghay Skirth Map

Facts & Stats

2.5 miles


The navigable length of Billinghay Skirth.


Set of Tidal Doors

There is a set of tidal doors at the entrance to the channel from the Witham.

Venturing where few boaters go

Billinghay Skirth (also known as the River Skirth) leads off the River Witham to the south west of Tattershall, under a road bridge and then through tidal doors with a small footbridge above them.  This is a winding river navigation, and runs for about 2.5 miles (4 km) to the village of Billinghay, where there are two bridges.  Only small boats will be able to fit under these bridges for reasons of both headroom and shallow depth, but the boat in the photo below is on an end-of-garden mooring upstream of both bridges, the boat owner having cleared the channel with help from a neighbour in 2008.

[Photo by Jonathan Thacker – CC BY-SA 2.0 ]


Visit the village of Billinghay

Billinghay is a substantial village with churches, a school, two pubs, a co-op food store, a small swimming pool and various other amenities useful to boaters.

Local community volunteers formed Billinghay Skirth Regeneration Society in 2009 and have undertaken work to improve the waterway to encourage visitors.

There is a long history of use of the river for navigation, with grain and coal barges using the waterway up to the 1930s.

[Photo by Richard Croft CC BY-SA 2.0 shows a boat moored in the village of Billinghay.]

Adventurous Boating

A convoy of six boats of IWA Lincolnshire Branch members tried to reach Billinghay in September 2009.

However, they didn’t quite make the final 200 yards to the village centre owing to low water levels and too much silt.

Waterway notes

Navigation authority

There is no navigation authority – Billinghay Skirth is just an open river.  The Environment Agency has overall control for flood defence, and the tidal doors at the Witham entrance, which are to prevent flood waters in the Witham backing up to Billinghay,  may close without warning in times of flood.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.