Recommended Reviews for River Trent
2 reviews in English
Review from David J.
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The River Trent is one of Britain's great rivers: at 185 miles the third longest after the Severn and the Thames, it was historically one of the great trading rivers of Britain and still carries a considerable amount of commercial traffic today, as well as pleasure craft. Boating on it offers great varieties of scenery, and for experienced crews, the chance to navigate the broad tidal stretches.
History of navigation
The history of navigation dates back at least to the Bronze Age, when it is thought to have been part of the route from Ireland to the Continent. The Romans built the Foss Dyke Canal to link Lincoln with the Trent in 120AD, and the Danes used it to attack the Saxons as far up as Nottingham. It remained the major transport route for the East Midlands until the 19th century. The channel was improved substantially between 1906 and 1926 with locks increasing the depth and navigability substantially, and it still carries a substantial traffic of gravel downstream of Newark.
Rising near Biddulph in Staffordshire, the river is joined by many tributaries that drain a huge part of central England, and which also give it its propensity to flood severely: its name is Celtic for 'flooding'. An attractive and winding river as far as Burton on Trent, thereafter it becomes wider and navigable, although for practical purposes most pleasure craft join at at the end of the Trent and Mersey canal at Shardlow.
Between Shardlow and Nottingham, sections of the river have been canalised with locks, as at Sawley and Cranfleet. At Trentlock is a huge junction, where the Erewash Canal and river Soar join. The Trent at Nottingham is unnavigable, and boats must pass along the Beeston Cut and the pretty Nottingham Canal through the heart of the City. It goes without saying that there's plenty to keep you occupied here!
Thereafter, the route widens again as it passes the National Water Sports Centre at Holmes Pierrepoint, and falls gradually through a series of impressive locks, built wide and deep enough for commercial traffic. These locks are mechanised, and have lock keepers to operate them, although out of hours they can be operated by British Waterways key owners. I must confess it's great fun to do this: it's like pushing the buttons in museum exhibits, but on a great scale! The usual care must be taken in locks, as these are particularly deep, and have large and impressive weirs alongside them. In times of flood, these can result in the river being closed for navigation.
There are some great pubs as you go downstream - Gunthorpe village being particularly well blessed. Just before Newark, the river begins the first of its huge meanders, and the navigable section narrows through the town itself (the main river bypasses the town to the west). Newark is well worth a stop - lots of decent pubs, a castle, an impressive church and other historic buildings.
Below Newark is the final lock, at Cromwell: it is huge, and also has the largest weir. (Passage should be booked in advance). From here onwards the river is impressively wide, but tidal and advisable only for experienced crews: boats must be suitable, with navigation lights, safety equipment and VHF radios. The banks are seldom suitable for mooring, and the large (and fast) gravel boats are an extra hazard, as are shallows (shoals) on some of the bends. (Pleasure craft must give way to them). On the plus side, the scenery is wonderful, the river is crossed by some impressive bridges, and the feel of boating on a major river, as opposed to a canal, provides a completely different experience.
At Torksey there are moorings at the mouth of the Fossdyke (Lincoln) canal, and a couple of pubs, before the next town of Gainsborough. The latter also has some decent pubs and shops, and limited mooring. Below Gainsborough the river is now the responsibility of the Humber Navigation by-laws, administered by Associated British Ports.
At this point, on certain tides, you can encounter the Aegir, or tidal bore. This can be between 1ft and 5ft (!), and is named after the Norse god of the sea. Shortly after Gainsborough is West Stockwith, its huge lock on the west bank the entrance to the Chesterfield Canal (lock-keeper operated - passage must be booked in advance). The canal has a large basin, and the village some nice pubs and an attractive church.
Commercial boats downstream of here can carry well over 1,000 tons. The river now runs even broader and straighter through flat land to Keadby, where the South Yorkshire Navigation joins at Keadby Lock. Most pleasure craft stop here to join this canal: 24 hours notice is again required to the lock keeper.
The next section runs to Trent Falls, where the river joins the River Ouse and becomes the Humber. This really is for very experienced crew only and for suitable boats - the tides and currents are formidable, most boats have to beach at low tide, and large commercial vessels abound. (Needless
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