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Ripon Canal

The Ripon Canal runs from its junction with the River Ure at Oxclose Lock to the canal terminus at Ripon.

Ripon Canal Map

Facts & Stats

2.3 miles


The length of the Ripon Canal that is navigable.

3 locks

The Ripon Canal

The Ripon Canal runs from Oxclose Lock, where it joins the river Ure, and then on to Ripon. It was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1767 and opened in 1773. The Ripon Canal was built to connect Ripon with York and the Humber Estuary via the rivers Ure and Ouse.  The Canal was a moderate success, but sold to the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Company in 1847, which was then absorbed into the North Eastern Railway in 1854.  The Ripon canal was then neglected and by 1892 was effectively disused.  The first attempt to abandon the waterway was made by the North Eastern Railway in 1894 but local opposition prevented it.  It was then offered to the Corporation of York as a gift but was not accepted, so the canal remained with the railway until being nationalised at the beginning of 1948.

An offer by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive (part of the British Transport Commission) to sell the canal to Ripon Corporation in 1952 was declined.  Luckily, closure of the canal was unpopular locally and this prevented it from being filled in.  In 1956, the Canal was offered to Ripon Motor Boat Club, who was interested in the moorings on it. This was subject to the condition that they would not oppose abandonment of the top two locks.  Although this was opposed by IWA nationally, the agreement went ahead and the upper two locks and a road bridge were demolished.  The lower part, which connected to the Ure Navigation was kept open.

Restoration of the Ripon Canal

By 1982 IWA had persuaded North Yorkshire County Council to include full restoration in the River Ure and Ouse Recreational Subject Plan.  The Council suggested that a restoration society should push this forwards and so the Ripon Canal Society was formed in 1983.  The restoration was completed in 1996.


Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 61′ 4″ (18.7 metres) – Rhodesfield Lock
  • Beam: 16′ 3″ (4.95 metres) – Rhodesfield Lock
  • Height: 9′ 2″ (2.8 metres) – Ripon By-pass Bridge (no 1)
  • Draught: 4′ 11″ (1.5 metres) – cill of Rhodesfield Lock

Navigation authority

Canal & River Trust

Useful Info

A Sanitary Station key is required to operated Rhodesfield Lock and Bell Furrows Lock

Waterways affected by HS2

We’re campaigning to protect canals and rivers from the damaging effects of HS2, especially where the tranquillity of the waterways is under threat.

Waterway restoration

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

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.