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Tonbridge Rail Bridge, River Medway

Accessible for local, portable and trailable craft

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit Tonbridge Rail Bridge on the River Medway by boat or canoe.

The Silver Propeller Location is above Tonbridge Town Lock. Beyond this point the headroom of Great Bridge in Tonbridge restricts access to very small craft only. A photo of your boat or canoe anywhere above Tonbridge Town 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 River Medway

The River Medway is the second largest river in Southern England after the River Thames. An Act of Parliament in 1740 allowed the Medway Navigation Company to make the river navigable up to Tonbridge. The Company was highly profitable until the arrival of the railway in 1842, but struggled on until 1911 when the company collapsed and commercial traffic ceased.  The river eventually became under the control of The Southern Water Authority, and then the National Rivers Authority when the water companies were privatised, and then the Environment Agency when that was formed.  Today, the Agency operates the 19 mile navigation with its ten locks, from Allington Lock to Tonbridge (Lucifer Foot Bridge).  Downstream of Allington the river is managed by the Medway Ports Authority, now part of Peel Ports, having been transferred from the Medway Lower Navigation Company in 1968.

The Thames & Medway Canal, which linked the River Thames at Gravesend to the River Medway at Strood, was completed in 1824.  It was large enough to take the sailing barges used for coastal shipping with the second longest canal tunnel in the UK. It was not a commercial success, however, and was bought by the South Eastern Railway in 1846 and the tunnel was converted into a railway.  The Thames & Medway Canal is a separate Silver Propeller destination.

[The photo shows a view of the river from the rail bridge at Tonbridge near the head of navigation –  © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: TN9 1XH

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the non-tidal River Medway is:-

Length: 80′ (24.3m)
Beam: 18′ 6″ (5.6m)
Height: 8′ 4″ (2.5m)
Draught: 4′ 0″ (1.2m)

Journeys from the Thames to the Medway are well documented, but should only be undertaken after having carried out the necessary research and preparation.

The most suitable site for launching trailable boats is the slipway at Allington Lock.

Canoeing and Trip Boats

Canoeing is encouraged on the River Medway with an Environment Agency licence or British Canoeing membership.

The Medway Canoe Trail between Tonbridge and Allington has details of launch sites and other information, including campsites.

Rowing boat hire and river trips are available from Tonbridge River Trips, who are based at The Big Bridge in Tonbridge.


Challenge Location

Tonbridge Rail Bridge

River Medway

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