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River Soar

The River Soar Navigation forms part of the Grand Union Canal, joining the Leicester Line of the Canal with the River Trent and the Erewash Canal.

Map showing the River Soar Navigation

Facts & Stats

24.1 miles


The length of the River Soar that is navigable.

18 locks


Year opened

The navigation from River Trent to Loughborough was opened.

Part of the Grand Union Canal

Plans to make the river navigable to Leicester were mooted as early as 1634 but the navigation from the River Trent to Loughborough was only opened in 1778. It was extended to Leicester in 1794.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 73′ 2″ (22.3 metres) – Bishop Meadow Lock
  • Beam: 15′ (4.57 metres) – Thurmaston Lock
  • Height: 7′ 6″ (2.28 metres) – Little Moorlane Arch Bridge
  • Draught: 4′ (1.2 metres)

Navigation authority

Canal & River Trust

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.