account arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right closecontact-us emailFacebookheart instagramjoin linkedin phonepinterestplaysearch twitteryoutube

North Walsham & Dilham Canal

The North Walsham & Dilham Canal served a rural area of North Norfolk, being a canalisation of the upper River Ant, which is a tributary of the River Bure.  The head of navigation was at Antingham Ponds, and just under 9 miles downstream, the Canal connected with the navigable River Ant, then thence a further 8 miles to the Bure.

Map showing the North Walsham and Dilham Canal

Facts & Stats

9 miles


6 locks


Year closed

(trade ended, never officially abandoned)

History of the Canal

The rivers and lakes that form the Norfolk Broads have no locks, with the exception of the linking lock into the North Sea in Lowestoft.  The North Walsham & Dilham Canal opened in 1826, following the River Ant that flows into Barton Broad joining it at Wayford bridge.  The canal runs for nearly nine miles to Antingham Ponds near North Walsham with six locks to take 20-ton 50ft Norfolk wherries.  Surplus water provided power for mills beside the lower locks causing friction between the mill owners and wherrymen.  The canal was moderately successful and was sold to a local miller, Edward Press in 1886, who pioneered pleasure boating.  Five converted wherries were hired out to holidaymakers from Ebridge.  Trade and the state of the canal both continued to decline, with the last cargo-carrying trip in 1934 made by the wherry Ella.

Restoration started in 2001 with regular working parties by the East Anglian Waterways Association. The North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust was set up in 2008 to further progress restoration.  Two sections are currently navigable; the bottom two-mile stretch up to Honing Lock and the isolated pound between Ebridge Mill Lock and Bacton Wood Lock.

[The photo, left, shows Bacton Wood Lock at the start of restoration work  –  by Graham Brown]

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.

Local activities