About the Little Ouse
The Little Ouse (sometimes known as Brandon Creek) joins the Ely Ouse at Brandon Creek Junction and was once navigable up to Thetford. The 1770s saw a grand plan to build a canal from the Little Ouse at Thetford to the River Stort creating a link into London. Although this would have boosted trade, it was never built and the idea was abandoned in the Railway Age.
The river is currently navigable for 13½ miles to Brandon and makes a pleasant change from the wide Ouse. Ten miles from the junction there is a concrete aqueduct over the Cut-off Channel with a run-off channel and two guillotine gates. This was built to enable the water flowing down the River Lark, the River Wissey and the Little Ouse to be “cut off” from the Great Ouse and diverted into the Relief Channel to avoid swamping Denver Sluice in times of flood.
There is a campaign to restore navigation to Thetford and a 2 ½ mile stretch above Brandon to Stanton Downham Bridge was reopened in 2008 but it is shallow and only really suitable for small craft.
[The photo shows a boat moored below Brandon Lock – by Alison Smedley]