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Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation

The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation runs from Sheffield to Keadby, to Goole via the River Don Navigation and to join with Aire & Calder Navigation via the New Junction Canal.

Things to do nearby

Straddle Warehouse at Sheffield Basin on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal.

Facts & Stats

48.4 miles


The length of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire navigation that is navigable.

28 locks

+ Swing Bridges



The Sheffield and Stainforth and Keadby Canals formed the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.

From Sheffield to Goole

The Stainforth & Keadby Canal joins the River Trent at Keadby Lock. The New Junction Canal runs between the Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Bramwith Junction and the Aire & Calder Navigation at Southfield Junction. The River Don Navigation runs from the bottom of Tinsley Flight to Bramwith Junction. The Sheffield & Tinsley Canal runs from the head of navigation in Sheffield to the bottom of Tinsley Flight. The Dearne & Dove Canal is proposed for restoration and also joined the River Don Navigation at Swinton.

The River Dun, now the Don, was always navigable up to Doncaster and an Act in 1726 allowed for extension to Tinsley above Rotherham. An Act was passed for the extension of the Dun from Tinsley to Sheffield in 1815 and in 1819 the Sheffield Canal was opened. In 1793, the Act for the Stainforth and Keadby Canal was passed. In 1895, these formed the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation.  In 1905, the New Junction Canal opened.  

During the twentieth century and as late as the 1980s, improvements were undertaken but delays in implementation meant that most of the traffic had transferred to the roads by the time the improvements were completed.


Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 68′ 7″ (20.9 metres) – Ickles Lock or 61′ 7″ (18.8 metres) – Thorne Lock (Stainforth & Keadby Canal)
  • Beam: 19′ 0″ (5.8 metres) – Ickles Lock (Tinsley Flight) or 18′ 4″ (5.6 metres) – Thorne Lock
  • Height: 10′ 0″ (3.05 metres) – Bacon Lane Bridge
  • Draught: 4′ 0″ (1.3 metres) – Tinsley Locks or 6′ 7″ (2 metres) – cill of Rotherham Lock and Attercliffe Aqueduct

Navigation authority

Useful info

  • Many of the locks (not Keadby Lock) require a Sanitary Station key to operate and have traffic lights (not Keadby or Thorne locks or the Tinsley Flight) to indicate the status of the lock (much the same as the Trent locks).  For the larger locks, each gate and its paddles are controlled from an adjacent console.  They are powered up by inserting a Sanitary Station key.  An interlock prevents mis-operation.  Detailed instructions are displayed at each console.
  • At the larger locks used by commercial vessels, recreational boaters are advised to keep clear of large vessels when they are leaving or entering a lock.  Where provided, use the shorter leisure boat landings.
  • A Sanitary Station key is required for the swing bridges on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal.  Keadby Lock, which leads to the tidal Trent, is operated by a lockkeeper – call 01724 782205 (or 07733 124611) 24-hours in advance.

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