Essex Waterways

Operating Arrangements consequent to the current Covid-19 Cornavirus situation are available on the Visitors Information page.

Essex Waterways Ltd (a subsidiary of The Inland Waterways Association) manages and maintains the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation for present and future generations to enjoy. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation runs through a largely unspoilt part of rural Essex and connects the county town of Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the river Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. The navigation is 13.8 miles (22.1 km) long and has 13 locks.

The navigation was designed by the renowned canal engineer John Rennie and most of his original structures are intact, together with the entire length of the original waterway. The navigation has remained open and independently run throughout its history and management of the navigation was taken over by Essex Waterways Ltd in 2005. Have a look at more history of the navigation for more information.

An increasing number of people use the navigation for leisure activities such as boating, angling, canoeing, paddleboarding, walking and camping. Take a look at visitor information for the navigation.

There is more detailed information about the navigation on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation page.

Download a large version of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation map.

Chelmer Cruises

Step on board Victoria and enjoy a cruise along the glorious Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex. Find out more about Chelmer Cruises.

Health & Safety

chelmer220pxThe safety of waterway users, staff, volunteers and every visitor to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is of the greatest concern to us. If you spot something that needs attention, then please let us know – either contact us or complete the online form.