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. It has remained open and independently run throughout its history. Never having been nationalised, it continued to carry commercial freight till 1972, and an increasing number of leisure users since that time. It is 13.8 miles (22.1 km) long and has 13 locks.
Freeholder ownership of the Navigation remains with the original Company of Proprietors of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, but management was taken over by Essex Waterways Ltd in 2005 when the Navigation Company went into administration.
The maximum size of boat that can navigate throughout the Navigation is
length: 57' (17.40 metres)
width: 15' (4.62 metres)
height: 6' 3" (1.9 metres) - Paper Mill road bridge
draught: 2' 6" (0.62 metres) - statutory minimum, though much of the waterway is deeper
Essex Waterways Ltd is a subsidiary company of The Inland Waterways Association, and more detailled information is available on the Essex Waterways pages.