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Fordwich, the River Stour (Kent)

Accessible for local, portable and trailable craft

Silver Propeller Challenge


Fordwich, Kent

Fordwich is the location for your Silver Propellor visit, encouraging you to have a scenic cruise along the quiet Kent countryside, where few boaters venture.  This is a new Silver Propellor location for 2023.

A photo of your boat, canoe or paddleboard on the river near Fordwich would be good evidence of your visit.


About the River Stour in Kent

There is a right of navigation on the Kentish River Stour to Canterbury. However, it is presently navigable only from the sea at Pegwell Bay to Fordwich.  There are weirs a short distance above Fordwich Bridge – remnants of old mills and flash locks.  It may be possible to canoe from Canterbury to Fordwich, but there is no official access or portage over the weirs.

The Stour began to be improved for navigation following an Act of 1515 to make the stretch between Fordwich and Canterbury navigable.  This resulted in the building of two flash locks so that modest sized craft could reach Canterbury.  Further schemes and improvements followed in the 17th and 18th centuries, and a canal between Fordwich and Canterbury was proposed in 1792, but never built.  In 1811 another Act was passed, providing for a canal between St Nicholas Bay, near Margate and Canterbury, partly parallel with the Stour, but that too was never built.  In 1824 it was proposed to improve the Stour to make it navigable all the way to Canterbury for 100-ton vessels, and the scheme was commended by Thomas Telford.  In 1825, another Act was passed, for the Canterbury Harbour and Sandwich Navigation – but a railway act to build a line from Whitstable to Canterbury the same year meant the scheme never got off the ground.  The Stour continued to attract commercial traffic until the 1870s, but now it used just by leisure traffic, mostly up to Grove Ferry, and some sea-going and residential boats up to Sandwich.

[The Photo shows Fordwich Bridge –  by Stephen Nunney  ©  cc-by-sa/2.0 ]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: CT2 0BU

What3words /// tasteful.convey.bridge

Boat Dimensions

There are no locks on the river so length is unrestricted, and draught the restricted factor as width is only limited by bridges.

Grove Ferry Bridge is fixed with 1.6m headroom. Downstream of this the headroom is 3.5m. It is tidal throughout, though the tides are much attenuated in the upper reaches.

There is a swing bridge at Sandwich, operated by Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners – tel 01843 585624 (VHF Ch 8).

Canoeing, Hire Boats and Trip Boats

Canoeing is unrestricted downstream of Fordwich, with no licence required.  It may be possible to canoe from Canterbury to Fordwich, but there is no official access or portage over the weirs.

There are no trip boats or boats for hire in the vicinity, but guided tours on punts are available in Canterbury.

Challenge Location


Kentish Stour

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