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Selby Canal

The Selby Canal runs from the River Aire Navigation at Dole Bank Junction to the Yorkshire Ouse at Selby.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

11.75 miles


The length of the Selby Canal that is navigable.

4 locks


Decade built

The canal was constructed quickly but with a depth of only 3ft 6in.

From the River Aire Navigation to the Yorkshire Ouse

The Selby Canal was built in the 1770s when the Aire and Calder Canal Company became aware of rumours that a canal was to be constructed between Leeds and Selby, which would have taken traffic from the Aire & Calder. The canal was cut from Haddesley to Selby as the lower reaches of the River Aire were difficult to navigate and this was the cheapest option. 

The canal was constructed quickly but with a depth of only 3ft 6in. As cargoes increased, the depth was too shallow for larger barges and, by 1826, the canal was losing traffic to the new, nearby section from Knottingley to Goole.


Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 76′ 9″ (23.4 metres) – Selby Lock
  • Beam: 17′ 5″ (5.45 metres)
  • Height: 10′ 5″ (3.17 metres) – Burton Hall Bridge
  • Draught: 6′ 7″ (1.32 metres) – cill of Selby Lock

Navigation authority

Useful Info

  • A Sanitary Station key is required to operate Selby Swing Bridge.
  • The Yorkshire Ouse at Selby is tidal, and passage of the lock is only possible at certain times – passage should be booked with the lockkeeper (Tel: 01757 703182).

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.