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

River Welland

The River Welland is navigable from Folly River Outfall, south of Deeping St James, to the Wash.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats


(36 km)

The length of the River Welland that is navigable.

1 lock

There is one lock on the River Welland at Fulney.  The river is tidal below the lock.

Exploring the River Welland

The upper part of this navigation is only suitable for light craft and canoes.  There are two derelict locks on the river at Deeping St James.  Small light craft can explore the river a further 1.5 miles (2 km) beyond the current head of navigation at Folly River Outfall to the first derelict lock.  There is a public footpath alongside the river, occasionally on an adjacent drainage channel, all the way from Deeping St James to Fosdyke Bridge, near The Wash, where it joins the coastal footpath.

The historical connections of this area with Holland can be seen in the Dutch style of many of the buildings in Spalding. The Romans navigated the river between Stamford and Peakirk and the remains of a Roman canal can still be seen. 

During the seventeenth century, the Stamford Canal was built, as a canalised bypass for the upper River Welland, with twelve locks to Stamford. Through the early part of the nineteenth century, the use up to Stamford declined. 

Following the floods of 1947, the river was straightened and widened and, in 1953, the Coronation Channel, which is not navigable, was constructed to protect Spalding from floods. Fulney Lock was built in 1955-56.

Waterway notes

Maximum Boat Sizes

  • Vessels of 110′ (34 metres) by 30′ (9.1 metres) and drawing 8 feet (2.4 m) can reach Fulney lock at high water. The lock is 62′ 4″ (19.0 metres) by 27′ 7″ (8.5 metres) and at normal summer water levels, can accommodate boats drawing 2’6″ (0.79 metres).
  • Boats up to 35′ (11 metres) can reach the Folly River. Headroom on this stretch is severely restricted, at 5’3″ feet (1.60 metres). Smaller boats such as canoes, which can be carried around obstructions, can continue up to Stamford, but they must use the old course of the river through the Deepings, rather than the Maxey Cut.
  • Bridge heights are given on the Environment Agency’s website.

Useful Info

  • The maximum boat size that can navigate the river gradually reduces the further upstream a boat travels.
  • The locks are tidal and can only be opened at certain levels of the tide.
  • Fulney Lock is operated by the Environment Agency, and it is necessary to call the local river inspector (Tel: 07775 228323) in advance to arrange this, or call the Environment Agency (03708 506 506)
  • The Coronation Channel through Spalding is a flood relief channel, not designed for navigation, and its use is only permitted by the Spalding Water Taxi by special arrangement.
  • There are two public slipways, at Crowland and Fosdyke (tidal).  You need a navigation key to lift the traffic control barriers that protect these sites. You can buy a navigation key for £15 by e-mailing the Environment Agency or calling 03708 506 506.

Navigation Authority

Environment Agency (non-tidal waterway)

Waterway news

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