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Black Sluice Navigation

Black Sluice BNavigation connects to the tidal River Witham (‘The Haven’) in Boston, and is navigable as far as Donnington Bridge.  There are plans to improve navigation beyond here and to connect up to the River Glen as part of plans for the Boston to Peterborough Fenland Link.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

19miles

(31 km)

Length of navigable drain

1 lock

Black Sluice Lock – in Boston

2009

Date the waterway opened

Waterway notes

Maximum Boat Sizes

  • Length: 70′ (21.0 metres) – Black Sluice Lock
  • Beam: 20′ (6 metres) – Black Sluice Lock
  • Height: 11′ (3.4 metres) – London Road Bridge
  • Height 10′ (3 metres) – Bridges further along the Navigation
  • Draught: From 9′ (2.8 metres) at Boston to increasingly shallow towards the south and River Glen.

Navigation Authority

Navigation Notes

Access to Black Sluice Navigation from the River Witham is via Grand Sluice (Sea Lock) to Boston Haven (the tidal Witham).  This lock can only fit boats up to 41′ (12.5 m) in length, but longer boats can pass through ‘on the level’ when the tidal water in The Haven reaches the same height as the non-tidal water in the Witham Navigation.  This Canal & River Trust operated lock is manned (VHF channel 74 during tidal operations).

 

Boaters’ Facilities

There is a slipway for trailable boats and mooring pontoons, with water, etc, at Hubberts Bridge

Black Sluice Navigation, also known as the South Forty Foot Drain, is an artificial drainage river in Lincolnshire. Unused for nearly 40 years, the waterway was re-opened to visiting boats in 2009.  It’s a typical Fen drain, providing 19 miles (31km) of navigation to the west of Boston in Lincolnshire.

The first lock here was part of the first attempt by the Earl of Lindsey to drain the surrounding levels in 1635. It is thought that the name derives from the battle that destroyed the original sluice. The current structure dates from 2008 and was built as part of the Fens Waterways Link scheme. There are aspirations to link the southern end of the Navigation and South Forty Foot Drain to the River Glen as part of establishing a navigable link between Boston and Peterborough. Beyond Donnington Bridge, access is only possible for small unpowered boats, such as canoes and kayaks. This is due to restricted water depth, headroom, width and environmental considerations.