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Cobblers Lock, Sleaford Navigation

Accessible to all craft kept on the connected inland waterways

Silver Propeller Challenge


Sleaford, Lincolnshire

Visit Cobblers Lock, the current head of Navigation, on the Sleaford Navigation by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location because the waterways sees very few visiting boats. A photo of your boat, ideally at Cobblers lock, or half a mile before Halfpenny Hatch Bridge, 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 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 (also known as Bottom Lock), near South Kyme, gives a height indication for the very low bridge at Half Penny Hatch 1.8 miles beyond the village.  There is a winding hole about half a mile before this bridge.  There are also a couple of quite low bridges on the way in to the village.  Water levels in the Navigation can change, so beware that the bridge headrooms may be less than expected.  The current limit of navigation is the winding hole just before Cobbler’s Lock, which is 7.5 miles from the junction.   Depending on the time of year of your visit, there can be a lot of weed in the Navigation.  More visiting boats will help!

[The photo shows Kyme Tower, taken from the Navigation about half a mile before the low bridge at Half Penny Hatch  –  by Fiona Burt in October 2023]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: NG34 9SY

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum boat size that can navigate the waterway is:-

  • Length – 78′ 0″ (23.8 m)
  • Beam – 15′ 2″ (4.62 m)
  • Height – 6′ 1″ (1.85 m) – Halfpenny Hatch Bridge
  • Draught – 3′ 6″ (1.07 m)

No licence is required for the waterway.

Canoeing, Boat Trips and Hire Boats

The full length of the Sleaford Navigation can be canoed, and canoes are welcome.  There is no licence requirement.

There are no trip boats or hire boats in the vicinity.

Also see…

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight visitor centre is nearby.

Cobblers Lock

Sleaford Navigation

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