Monday, 3 May 2010

Images of - Witham Navigable Drains

These pictures were taken during one of Richlow's cruises of the Witham Navigable Drains, to update our knowledge of the enigmatic waterways.
As we state in our Lincolnshire Waterways guide, "these are adventure waterways and we recommend trying the easier routes first."  Available from
There are approximately 40 navigable miles of a 90 mile network. The Witham Navigable Drains are a world of their own, one of the few places where a cruise on a hot August bank holiday can be completed without seeing another craft. Nevertheless, they are an acquired taste - some find them remote and boring, others find them remote and peaceful.

Pontoon moorings on the River Witham, at the entrance to Antons Gowt lock. The entrance to the Witham Navigable Drains.

In Antons Gowt lock. A rare chance to lock down from a river.

Exiting Antons Gowt lock. Entering Frith Bank drain, the waterway on the network with the most bends.

On West Fen drain, one of the widest waterways of the network. Heading towards Frithville.

Richlow's Madeley Wood continuing along the West Fen drain, at the Frithville junction.

Our friends' boat Woolwinder, jammed by its ornate tiller-pin (of all things!). Extra crew from Madeley Wood, for added ballast, and the skipper grazing his fingers eventually got the boat through.

Having moved his crew to Woolwinder to help as above, John was left alone on Madeley Wood. With the benefit of experience, he had already replaced his boat's usual tiller-pin with one of a low basic design.

Richlow attention to detail. Measuring the air draught at the troublesome bridge on the West Fen Drain. The water levels on the drains differ at various times of the year. Our Lincolnshire Waterways guide gives details of how to check. See

Madeley Wood turning on to the Newham drain at Westville, taking care about the over-hanging tree branches.

Newham Drain, on the way back to the River Witham, via Antons Gowt lock.

The Witham Navigable Drains are covered in our Lincolnshire Waterways guide.
Available, post free, from

Richlow Guides   -   "Written by People Who Go There".

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