Stainforth & Keadby

A UK Canal Boating Article

Category : Canals


Length: 12 miles
Total Locks: 2

The River Don Navigation originally continued through Bramwith Lock to the now disused Stainforth Side Lock, where it joined the tidal section of the River Don. Because of the difficulties of navigating this tidal river, with its fast flows, the Stainforth and Keadby Canal was opened in 1802, providing an easier and safer route to the tidal River Trent at Keadby

The Stainforth and Keadby Canal was authorised in 1793 and opened in 1802. It brought an influx of people together with increased trade and relative prosperity to the village of Stainforth, which could offer work as well as attractive surroundings to incomers from different parts of the country. You are almost certain to meet an angler as several stretches of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal are now popular coarse fisheries.


Stainforth is a small, picturesque village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park situated about 2 and a half miles from the quaint market town of Settle, in the Ribble Valley. The village has a mountain stream running through it with stepping stones to the village green. Stainforth has a garage, church and the pub that serves bar snacks and evening meals.

Vazon Sliding Railway Bridge spans the Stainforth and Keadby Canal, near Keadby and boaters must wait for a gap between trains on this busy line before the bridge is opened. The bridge slides sideways to allow boats to pass.

Keaby Lock is a Grade II listed structure and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, giving it the same level of protection as Stonehenge.The purpose of the Control Tower is to allow the lock operator to have uninterrupted views of both the River Trent and the Keadby Canal so that boats emerging from the canal into the river do so safely and efficiently.The main structural walls were constructed from load bearing masonry with additional steelwork supporting the full height slot windows on the rear elevation of the building. The upper floor was again formed in timber with integral steelwork projecting through the external walls to support the cantilever balcony adjacent to the curved window.

The River Trent is linked to the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Keadby and is one of the major rivers in the UK. It flows through the Midlands until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary which thens flows into the North Sea. The River Trent is navigable from Shardlow to the Humber at Trent Falls. It is still regularly used for commercial freight transport in its lower reaches and boaters should keep a good lookout for the large loaded gravel barges that still operate.



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