The River Stort Navigation - walking the towpath from Bishops Stortford to the River Lee.

The River Stort offers boats as well as cyclist and walkers a link from Bishops Stortford in England to the Lee Navigation thus access to both the River Thames and 100s of miles of English Canals.

Many years before the eventually extensive canal systems (The Grand Junction Canal and The Oxford Canal amongst others) were constructed and used for transporting goods etc. around England several rivers in southern England were quite heavily utilised commercially - one of which was the River Stort. The River Stort starts it's life in Clavering, Essex and initially is a quite narrow shallow, twisting little river down as far as the centre of Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire.
From there the remaining 22 kilometres have been made navigable with an accompanying towpath so that the river provides narrowboat access to The River Lee Navigation at Feildes Weir near Hoddesdon.
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Narrowboats and barges therefore have access to the English Canal systems via the Lee Navigation and then via The Regents Canal onto the Paddington Canal Arm of the Grand Union and the Grand Union Canal at Brentford itself at Bulls Bridge. Using the Lee Navigation there is also access to the River Thames at Limehouse in London's East End. The Stort Navigation's fifteen Locks are numbered sequentially from 15 to 1 whilst the Navigation's Bridges are numbered the other way round i.e. 1 to 53. The locks appear wide and able to take two narrowboats at a time but are in fact only 13 feet wide so cannot do so.
The following Photos show the bridges, locks as well as several of the old mills plus other features which can be seen along the Stort Navigation as it travels from Feildes Weir (Lee Navigation Junction) up to the end of narrowboat navigation at Bishops Stortford.
Feilde Weir across The River Stort Navigation, England.
Feilde Weir
The River Lee and River Stort - river junction
Lee/Stort Jcn
footbridge 1, River Stort Navigation, England.
Footbridge 1
Lower Lock 15, River Stort Navigation, England.
Lower Lock15
footbridge 2, River Stort Navigation, England.
Footbridge 2
Brick Lock 14 - River Stort Navigation, England.
Brick Lock
Brick Lock, River Stort, England.
Brick Lock 14
lock gates at Brick Lock 14 on The River Stort in England.
Brick Lock Gates
Bridge no 5 on The River Stort, England.
Bridge 5
Roydon Mill's Arm, River Stort Navigation, England.
Roydon Mill Arm
small side sluice - The River Stort in Southern England.
sluice
rail bridge no6 crosses The River Stort in England.
Bridge 6
railway bridge 7 on The River Stort, England.
Railway bridge 7
sidebridge 7a - The River Stort.
side bridge 7a
 The River Stort bridge 8, River Stort Navigation, England.
Bridge no8
Roydon Lock 13, River Stort Navigation, England.
Roydon Lock 13
bridge 10 The River Stort.
Bridge 10
Hudson Mill Lock 12 on the River Stort Navigation, England.
Hudson Mill Lock
River Stort Navigation sidearm for Hudson Mill
Hudson Mill sidearm
sidebridge on The River Stort, England.
Sidebridge (wooden)
River Stort Bridge no 11
Bridge 11
Sidebridge - metal version - The River Stort.
sidebridge (metal)
River Stort sidebridge, River Stort Navigation, England.
metal sidebridge
Bridge no14 on The River Stort in England.
Bridge 14
Parndon Lock on The River Stort, Southern England.
Parndon Lock 11
sidebridge and Parndon Lock, River Stort Navigation, England.
Parndon Lock
Parndon Mill, The River Stort.
Parndon Mill
Parndon Mill, River Stort Navigation, England.
Parndon Mill
pipe and Bridge 15, The River Stort.
Pipe + Bridge 15
footbridge 15a on The Stort Navigation
Footbridge 15a
Road Bridge 16, River Stort Navigation, England.
Roadbridge 16
Bridge 17, River Stort Navigation, England.
Bridge 17
The Stort Navigation was opened for commercial use towards the end of 1769 with barges carrying various products such as rye, wheat, malt dust, barley, oats, coal, lime and particularly malt from the important malting industry in Bishops Stortford. The towpath is fully open for use by both cyclists and walkers and in generally good condition. Much of the route is through peacefull open countryside and very scenic especially in Spring and Autumn. For cyclists who want to cycle the whole length of the navigation there is a frequent railway service between Bishops Stortford and Broxborough so it's possible to use the Lea Navigation and then The Stort for a one way ride. This is probably too far to walk but you can park in Roydon's Council car park (which on our last visit was free unlike the railway station car park) and then wander down to the station and take a train to Bishops Stortford and walk back along The Stort to Roydon (around 13 miles).
Burnt Mill Lock 10, River Stort Navigation, England.
Burnt Mill Lock
Bridge 17a, River Stort Navigation, England.
Bridge 17a
Marina bridge 17b, River Stort Navigation, England.
Marina Bridge
Bridge 18, River Stort Navigation, England.
Bridge 18
Bridge 20, River Stort, England.
Bridge 20
Latton Lock 9, River Stort Navigation, England.
Latton Lock 9
River Stort sluice
Stort Sluice
Footbridge 21 on The River Stort Navigation
Footbridge 21
Stort Sidebridge 22, River Stort Navigation, England.
Footbridge 22
Bridge 23 - most locks have these small footbridges - River Stort
Bridge 23
Harlow Lock 8 - River Stort Navigation, England
Harlow Lock 8
Road bridge 24, River Stort Navigation, England.
Roadbridge 24
River Stort Navigation sidebridge no 25
Roadbridge 25
River Stort Bridge 27, River Stort Navigation, England.
Bridge 27
River Stort Navigation, Feakes Lock - lockgates
Feakes Lock 7 gates
Footbridge 28 on the River Stort Navigation, England
Footbridge 28
Two Stort sidebridges - 29 and 30, River Stort Navigation, England.
Side Bridges 29+30
Footbridge 30 on The River Stort.
Footbridge 30
Bridge 31 - River Stort Navigation
Bridge 31
Geering Mill Bridge 33, River Stort Navigation, England.
Sheering Mill Bridge
River Stort Navigation - Sheering Mill Lock 6
Sheering Mill Lock
Old mill buildings alongside the River Stort
Old mill buildings
Bridge 35 on The River Stort.
Bridge 35
River Stort Navigation Bridge 36
Bridge 36
Sawbridgeworth Lock 5, River Stort Navigation, England.
Sawbridgeworth Lock
Footbridge 37, River Stort Navigation, England.
Foot
bridge37
Railway Bridge 37 over The River Stort.
Railway bridge37
Bridge 41 and lock gates - The River Stort.
Bridge 41
The River Stort Navigation, Tednambury Lock 4
Tednambury Lock 4
Little Hallingbury Mill - just off The River Stort, England..
Mill
Tednambury
Sidearm leaving the Stort for Tednambury Mill, River Stort Navigation, England.
Tednambury Bridge
The Tednambury Sidearm The River Stort, England..
Tednambury Sidearm
Bridge 43 on The River Stort.
Bridge no:43
Spellbrook Lock 3, River Stort Navigation, England.
Spellbrook Lock 3
Spellbrook Weir, River Stort Navigation, England.
Spellbrook weirs
Bridge 44 on The River Stort, England..
Bridge 44
Footbridge 47
Footbridge 47
Stort Navigation Bridge 48
Bridge 48
Twyford Lock 2, River Stort Navigation, England.
Twyford Lock 2
River Stort Navigation England - Twyford Lock
Twyford Lock
Bridge 48b, Stort Navigation
Bridge 48b crosses The Stort
Area around South Mill Lock on the River Stort Navigation, Southern England.
South Mill Lock area
South Mill Lock gates - River Stort (Navigation)
South Mill Lock 1
South Mill Lock 1, The River Stort Navigation, England.
South Mill Lock 1
Bridge 49 - River Stort Navigation, Southern England.
Bridge 49
Southmill Lock weirs on The Stort Navigation
Weirs, Southmill Lock
Railway Bridge 49b - The River Stort.
Railway-bridge 49
Navigation Bridge 50 - River Stort Navigation, Southern England.
Bridge 50
Odd looking footbridge over The River Stort
Footbridge
Various (Stort) riverside buildings
Riverside buildings
Old pipebridge corossing The River Stort
Pipebridge
Station Road Bridge 52 - River Stort Navigation, Southern England.
Station Road bridge
Causeway Bridge 53 - end of The River Stort Navigation, England.
Causeway Bridge 53
Suddenly the River Stort reverts to a narrow river
Now The Stort
Willow lined River Stort at Bishops Stortford, England.
Bishops Stortford

Once the waterway reaches Causeway Bridge in the centre of Bishops Stortford, the Stort Navigation returns to simply being The River Stort - a nice tree-lined and narrow river with parkland and play areas either side of it - this is where the river starts heading off back to it's source in Essex. On one side of the river there are the remains of the 11th Century Bishops Stortford Castle - however the castle is little more than a large mound and you cannot always get onto this and take a look at it as sometimes the entrance gate at the top of the steps is locked.
If our old English river navigations are of particular interest you may like to look at our several topics about the Kennet and Avon Canal - most of which is also "river" rather than actual cut canal as it is "The River Kennet" out of Reading, some miles of canal in the middle and then ends up as the "River Avon" at it's Bristol end.
Please take a look at our National Trail and canal towpath Walks in England Home Page for more about England.
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