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River Stort Navigation
The River Stort Navigation is only accessible from the River Lee Navigation at Feilde's Weir Junction.
We cruised the River Stort Navigation in June 2008, through parts of Hertfordshire and Essex, finding The River Stort Navigation runs for just over 13 miles (22km) through a drop of 90ft with 15 locks from Bishops Stortford, to Feilde's Weir where it meets the River Lee Navigation. The locks look like they should take two breasted narrowboats but not so, they are only 13 feet wide. The River Stort Navigation is definitely a picturesque river, with clear water and rich in wildlife. We could see lots of small fish and occasional huge dark carp. The River Stort Navigation is shallow and quite narrow in some locations, a boat with 33 inches of draught in front of us regularly ran aground.
Parndon Mill, on the River Stort Navigation is home to the Parndon Mill Gallery a centre for artistic and artisan creative activity. Since the 1960s it has been occupied by artists and craftsmen who have gradually restored the site.
The River Stort Navigation winds its way through pretty countryside, passing through or close to: Roydon, Harlow, Sawbridgeworth and Bishop's Stortford, much of the time being followed alongside by a railway line with regular commuter trains passing one way or the other every few minutes during the day.
The Stort Navigation is a canalised river first opened for traffic in 1796 and reopened on the 4th of JUly 1924 as a plaque at Southmill lock tells us. BW Navigation Notes say is possibly passable along the whole course for vessels up to 70ft long; 10ft beam; 14inches draught and 6ft 3ins clearance. There are a number of eateries, pubs and attractions along the way. At the Bishops Stortford there are recently improved visitor moorings adjacent to the winding hole close to an 'urban splash' development.
There is a pleasant public park in Bishop's Stortford, just over the last bridge below the bailey and foundations of the keep of Waytmore Castle.
The RSN is generally short on visitor mooring, not helped by the apparent turning of a blind eye, to overstayers and inconsiderate moorers, by BW.
Rushy Mead Nature Reserve is just below Southmill Lock an area that has been naturalised since the 1950s and now is an area of willow, sedge and reeds, rich in bird life. An area where you can still find harvest mice! Open 09.00 to 17.00 or dusk if earlier.
If you are looking to replace used fan/drive belts bulbs etc for your narrowboat, then Harlow MotaQuip Ltd, Unit 3, Stort Mill, Riverway, Harlow, CM20 2SN - about five minutes walk from Harlow Lock, Harlow can probably fill your order on the way up to Bishop's Stortford. If not in stock then within 24hrs and pick your order up on the way back downstream. Tel: 01279 416188 or 866198 with the part numbers. MAP
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