River Foss

The River Foss is navigable for 1.3 miles upstream of its confluence with the River Ouse in York city centre.

The only lock on the Navigation is Castle Mills Lock, which is just upstream of the Environment Agency’s flood barrier which protects the Foss from the floodwaters of the Ouse.

Castle Mills Lock Operation

A new booking system is in place for 2020. Find out more about booking passage through Castle Mills Lock.


The River Foss was historically navigable for nearly 12 miles up to Strensall and had six locks.

The Foss Navigation opened in 1796 and was extended in 1804. It was sold to York Corporation in 1852, and all but the last mile and Castle Mills Lock closed in 1859. Rowntrees bought the wharf and warehouse that had originally been part of Leethams Mill at the junction with the Wormalds Cut which was in use until the 1980s, and barges were bringing 200 tonnes of news print per week into York from Goole until 1997.