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River Idle

The River Idle is virtually unnavigable. However, there is a right of navigation for the River Idle from Bawtry Bridge in Bawtry to Stockwith, where it connects with the tidal Trent.

Map of the River Idle

Facts & Stats

10.9 mile


The length of the River Idle that is meant to be navigable.

0 locks

From Bawtry Bridge to the River Trent

The river was navigable from Bawtry to the River Trent in the sixteenth century but it was only in 1720 that an Act was passed allowing improvement to East Retford. Work was not carried out and the river lost traffic to the improved Don and later the Chesterfield Canal.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

There are no locks to control length and beam of vessels visiting the river Idle, but boats in excess of 72′ (21 metres) will have difficulty in turning round for the reverse journey. Other limiting dimensions are:

  • Height: 9′ (2.7 metres)
  • Draught: 3′ (0.9 metres)

Navigation authority


Useful info

Although there is no navigation authority for the River Idle, access to the river at West Stockwith is controlled by a tidal sluice gate operated by the Environment Agency, which requires 48 hours advance notice of intended passage, and a substantial fee is payable. The Agency also controls drainage and other aspects of the river.

Waterway news

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