About the Sleaford Navigation
The Sleaford Navigation, also known locally as Kyme Eau, leaves the River Witham near Chapel Hill and climbs south west through seven locks and 12 ½ miles to the market town of Sleaford. A commercial waterway was planned as early as 1343, and the present Navigation opened in 1794. It officially closed in 1881, due to competition from the railways, despite its initial success. Sleaford Navigation Trust was formed in 1976 to promote restoration of the waterway. The Trust has made considerable progress and owns the portion of Navigation bed in Sleaford.
A pair of flood doors after the road bridge at the junction protect against high water in the River Witham. These may need opening to gain access, which can be tricky but is possible with careful use of a boat hook from the bows. A white mark on the right hand guillotine gate support pillar at Taylors Lock, near South Kyme, gives a height indication for the low bridge at Half Penny Hatch 1.8 miles beyond the village. There is a winding hole about half a mile before this bridge. The current limit of navigation is the winding hole just before Cobbler’s Lock, which is 7.5 miles from the junction.
[The photo shows narrowboats at South Kyme on the Sleaford Navigation – by Mervyn Head]