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Waterways Licences

Waterways Licences

Enjoy Britain's waterways with the Canoe England Licence  

If you enjoy canoeing on river and canal navigations you will need a licence to do so.

Canoe England has teamed up with navigation authorities who manage the waterways as listed below to offer members a great rate for a waterway licence in England.  Included in your Canoe England membership  is a licence to paddle over 4500km of river navigations and canals. Please carry your Canoe England membership card with you at all times, as you may be asked to show this to authorised navigation officials.

Please note:
  • British Waterways has transferred to the Canal & River Trust
  • AINA – Association of Inland Navigation Authorities.

What the Waterways Can Offer

Many of England's inland waterways are ideal for canoeing - a sport that can be enjoyed by families and individuals of all ages. The waterways offer a variety of canoeing waters - some passing through wooded cuttings like those on the Shropshire Union Canal, while others are broad rivers navigations like the Trent, Thames and Severn. There are excellent long distance routes for experienced canoeists, equally there are plenty of quiet stretches for beginners.

Canoe Trails

Individual Members

Canoe England members are provided with a membership card which also serves as the waterways licence. A lanyard is also provided for ease of display.  

Affiliated Clubs

Clubs using the waterways listed below require a licence for each club boat. Canoe England affiliated clubs can be provided with additional licences by Canoe England at a considerable cost saving to buying licences direct from the navigation authorities Current details are included on the Club Affiliation form.

Where does my licence allow me to paddle 4500km of waterways?

  • All the Canal & River Trust canals and river navigations and the following Association of Inland Navigation Authorities waterways
  • River Ancholme (Environment Agency)
  • Basingstoke Canal (Basingstoke Canal Authority)
  • Bridgewater Canal (Manchester Ship Canal Company)
  • River Cam, Cambridge to Bottisham Lock (Cam Conservators)
  • River Cam, below Bottisham Lock (Environment Agency)
  • River Glen (Environment Agency)
  • River Great Ouse below Kempston (Environment Agency)
  • River Great Ouse Flood Relief Channel, between the Head sluice lock at Denver and the Tail sluice at Saddlebow (Environment Agency)
  • River Lark (Environment Agency)
  • River Little Ouse below Brandon Staunch (Environment Agency)
  • River Medway below Tonbridge (Environment Agency)
  • River Nene below Northampton (Environment Agency)
  • Norfolk & Suffolk Broads and Rivers Ant, Bure, Chet, Thurne, Waveney, Wensum, Yare and associated Broads and Dykes (Broads Authority)
  • River Avon (Stratford) from Alveston to Tewkesbury (Avon Navigation Trust)
  • River Stour (Suffolk) below Brundon Milll, Sudbury (Environment Agency)
  • River Thames - Cricklade Bridge to Teddington to include the Jubilee River and Maidenhead Waterway (Environment Agency)River Welland (Environment Agency)
  • Wey & Godalming Navigations (National Trust)
  • River Wissey (Environment Agency)
And waterways under restoration:
  • Wilts and Berks Canal – restored sections only (Wilts and Berks Canal Trust)
  • Stroudwater Navigation – restored sections only  (Cotswold Canal Trust)
For information on these waterways contact the Navigation Authorities
Canoe England voluntary Local Waterway Advisors can also assist with information for many of these waters.

River navigations where a licence is not required

There are a number of non-tidal rivers where navigation rights are recognised and where boats are not a required to be licensed.  Known examples are the River Wye below Hay-on-Wye, River Lugg from Leominster, River Severn between Pool Quay near Welshpool and Stourport, and River Rother (East Sussex) from Robertsbridge.