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Carpenters Road Lock, Bow Back Rivers

Accessible to all craft kept on the connected inland waterways

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit Carpenters Road Lock on the Lee & Stort Navigations by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location to encourage visiting boats to explore this relatively unknown part of the waterways.  The network of Bow Back Rivers were restored as part of the building of the 2012 Olympics site, and connect to the River Lee Navigation above Three Mills. With the reopening of Carpenter’s Road Lock in 2017, all these waterways are now navigable and passage can be booked through Canal & River Trust.   A photo of your boat in the lock 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 Bow Back Rivers

As part of the preparation for the 2012 Olympics and the creation of Queen Elizabeth Park, the network of tidal and semi-tidal rivers known as the Bow Back Rivers were re-worked and restored.  The remaining portion of Pudding Mill River was filled in but channels were dredged and three locks were restored.  Three Mills Lock was rebuilt making Waterworks River non-tidal and City Road Lock was restored.  Carpenters Road Lock was covered over with a temporary bridge during the Olympics and had to wait to finally be restored.   The reopening of the, long derelict, lock in 2017 was the final piece needed to restore the navigable water space.

There are three connections into the Bow Back Rivers network; up the tidal Bow Creek to Three Mills Lock, off the Lea Navigation into St Thomas Creek just upstream of the A118 road bridge and onto the old River Lea below Old Ford Lock.  Carpenters Road Lock is the only lock in the country with two radial guillotine gates.

[The photo shows Carpenters Road Lock shortly after it was re-opened in 2017]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: E20 2AD

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Bow Back Rivers is:

  • Length: 87′ 0″ (26.52 metres) 
  • Beam: 20′ 0″ (6.10 metres)
  • Height: Not known 
  • Draught: Not known

A booking with Canal & River Trust (seven days notice) is required to go through any of Carpenters Road, City Mill or Three Mills locks.


Canoeing, Trip Boats and Boat Hire

Canoeing is encouraged on the Bow Back Rivers with a Canal & River Trust licence or British Canoeing membership.

There are no trip boats or boats for hire in the immediate area.

Also see…

Visit Queen Elizabeth Park, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games

Challenge Location

Carpenters Road Lock

Bow Back Rivers, Queen Elizabeth Park.

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