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Bridgwater Docks, Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is accessible for local, portable and trailable craft. Suitable craft can also visit Bridgwater on the tidal River Parrett.

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit as near as you can to Bridgwater Docks on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal by boat or canoe.  It is not possible to enter the docks on a boat at the moment.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location to support this isolated waterway and encourage visiting boats. A photo of your boat or canoe as near as you can to Bridgwater Docks will be a good proof of your visit.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.

About the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal runs from the River Tone at Taunton to Bridgwater. The canal is 13.5 miles (21.7km) long with 7 locks. It opened in 1827 and together with the Grand Western Canal are the remains of Brindley’s project to bypass the tricky sea passage around Land’s End. Both the canals were linked in 1838 with a tub-boat canal having seven vertical locks and an inclined plane. Railway competition and high operating costs caused closure in 1867. The Bridgwater & Taunton Canal connected to the River Tone at Huntworth, to the east of Bridgwater, but this proved inadequate; the canal was extended to a new floating harbour with two basins and two river locks in 1841.

Bridgwater Docks

The last commercial traffic along the canal was in 1907 but Bridgwater Docks remained in use until 1971. The channel was maintained to supply the docks and from 1962 drinking water to Durleigh reservoir. Restoration began in the mid 1970s and, after a long campaign by IWA, the canal reopened fully in 1994. Bridgwater Docks are owned by Somerset Council (inherited from Sedgemoor District Council in April 2023) and until June 2021 the docks were leased to Canal & River Trust.  On termination of the lease Sedgemoor District Council insisted that Vacant Possession meant that there should be no boats in the docks – so all the boats previously moored there were moved onto the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal prior to the lease being terminated.  It is therefore not possible to enter the docks with a boat at the moment.

Photo: Moored boats in Bridgwater Docks (prior to termination of Canal & River Trust’s lease) by Stefanie Preston.

Notes for visitors


Postcode: TA6 3EX

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is:-

  • Length: 55′ 2″ (16.81m) – Firepool Lock
  • Beam: 12′ 6″ (3.81m) – Higher Maunsell Lock
  • Height: 7′ 3″ (2.21m) – Huntworth Bridge (No 12) and Obridge Bridge (No 36)
  • Draught: 4′ 6″ (1.37m) – Higher Maunsell Lock cill

Oakley Barge Lock, which connects Bridgwater Docks with the River Parrett, is currently non-operational.

There is a slipway at the Canal & River Trust moorings at Bathpool.

Canoeing, Trip Boats and Boat Hire

Canoeing is encouraged on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal with a Canal & River Trust licence or British Canoeing membership.

At Maunsell the Somerset Boat Centre offers a variety of boats for hire.

Also see…

The Chard Canal joined the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal at Creech St Michael.  The junction is marked with a World War II defensive pill-box.  The Chard Canal opened in 1842 and although technically advanced with 4 aqueducts, 3 tunnels and 4 inclined planes, the canal was not a commercial success and closed in 1868.  Much of line can still be discerned.


Challenge Location

Bridgwater Docks

Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

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