Relevant Links


Access Campaign
Angling Trust & Others
BCU, Canoe England, Canoe Scotland & Canoe Wales
Blogs with general information
Court Cases
The Works of Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyn
Environment Agency
Government, Government Agencies & Parliament
Legal Offences
Media (TV and Press) Coverage
Canals & Rivers Trust, National Trust and other Institutional Landowners
Police View
River & Navigation Law

We can take no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any of the sites linked to from this page. If you have suggestions for additional links (or improved versions of existing links) you can enter them by completing the Suggest a Link input form here.

Links relating to individual rivers will be found on the infobox for that river which can be accessed by clicking on the route of the river on the map pages.

Access Campaign

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Rivers Access Campaign

A campaign funded by Canoe England to raise awareness of the access issue on inland waterways in England (and Wales) and to bring about a change to the access situation.

The Seiont Mass Trespass

Photo history of clashes between anglers and canoeists in 1988.

Paddling, Property and Piracy: The Politics of Canoeing in England and Wales

pdf. download of an analysis of the politics of property rights v the campaign for access to rivers. See more.

This paper situates the politics of canoeing on inland rivers in England and Wales in the context of property rights and protest repertoires. We argue that the dominance of property rights has created an asymmetrical position that has underpinned riparian rights holders claims to exclusive use of rivers while simultaneously delegitimising the apparently equally valid claims of paddlers and others seeking access along rivers.

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Rivers Access Campaign Boat Stickers

Free of charge 'River Access Campaign' boat stickers. There is a small charge for delivery.

Rivers Access Campaign Window Stickers

Free of charge 'River Access Campaign' Window stickers. There is a small charge for delivery.

The History of the Access Movement in Britain

Discussion thread on UKRGB forum. Contains the Environment Agency's Code of Practice on Conservation, Access and Recreation: (published in 1991) See more.

'4.3 Access to land and water should be allowed provided that there is no significant danger to public health and safety, risk of pollution or damage, or harmful impact on wildlife. If access is not possible, public notices should normally be displayed explaining why.' - Environment Agency's Code of Practice on Conservation, Access and Recreation: (published in 1991)

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River Access For All

The Campaign to gain recognition that there is, and always has been, a public right of navigation on our rivers subject only to the physical constraints of the river and the size/nature of the craft using them.

RAFA - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions concerning public rights of navigation on unregulated rivers

Asserted Public Rights of Navigation

Andy Biddulph's webpage detailing the background to his structured programme of assertions of the Public Right of Navigation, including details of notices served and responses received.

If you have difficulty loading the webpage, a copy is viewable here.

Why DEFRAs Policy is Incapable of Meeting its Objectives

Download this leaflet from River Access Foe All showing why Defra's policy of securing wider access to rivers via Voluntary Access Agreements can not work.

Muddying the waters: recreational conflict and rightsof use of British rivers

Academic paper on the conflict between angling and canoeing - By Dr Marianna Dudley

Angling Trust & Others

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Griff paddling up the wrong creek - 23.07.09

Press release criticising Griff Rhys Jones's support for canoe access to rivers. See more.

'Griff Rhys Jones has been promoting his new television series by sticking an unwelcome oar into the issue of access to rivers by canoes and other craft. He has suggested that we should disturb as many fishermen as possible because ...the river isnt there for a few, but for the many. ........'

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Navigation: Pay Up or Shut Up

Angling Trust website detailing what they do in the area of Navigation.

Angling Trust calls on British Canoe Union to Condemn Mass Trespass Protest

Press Release from Angling Trust objecting to a group paddle on the River Avon in Hampshire. See more.

See also and

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Code Of Conduct For Coarse Aanglers

National Angling Alliance code of Practice for coarse anglers

Prepared by the SAA on behalf of the NAA See more.

'Show consideration to other anglers and water users. It is good angling practice to minimise bankside noise and movement, and to avoid fishing in a way which interferes with other water users.'

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Angling Trust statement on inland navigation May 2009

This statement sets out the Angling Trusts position on navigation of inland
waterways. (Download a .pdf)

Angling Trust Statement - Canoe Trespass Must Be Tackled Say Angling and Countryside Groups (20 Nov

Statement from AT announcing their dossier on and accusations about the BCU

The Angling Trusts Dossier against the BCU

A dossier launched today provides new evidence that the British Canoe Union has potentially misled its members and the public about the law relating to navigation on rivers and acted against the governments policy of supporting voluntary access agreements. The document is published by the Angling Trust, which has called on Ministers to intervene and to consider withdrawing public funding from organisations which refuse to respect the law of the land.

Angling Trust News from Jan 2017 detailing QC's advice on Public Navigation Rights

The AT claims that QC's legal advice proves there is no general public right to navigate non tidal rivers in England and Wales.

BCU, Canoe England, Canoe Scotland & Canoe Wales

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Canoe England - Waterways Information Service

Details of contact details and areas of responsibility for Canoe Englands Waterways & Environment Advisors (formerly known as Rivers Access Advisors).

Canoe Scotland - River Advisors

Details of contact details and areas of responsibility for SCAs River Advisers.

You, Your Canoe and the Environment

Code of Conduct from Canoe England

Canoe England - Waterways and Environment Charter

Principles and proposals for government action on access to and along inland waters for canoeists and other interested parties - from Canoe England.

Canoe England - Key Contacts

Useful contacts at Canoe England.

Canoe Wales Special Edition on Access (2007)

Special Edition of Canoe Wales Magazine detailing with the access issue.

Response of Canoe Wales to the Report of the Sustainability Committee

Canoe Wales gives their response to the disappointing findings of the Sustainability Committees Enquiry into Access to Inland Waters in Wales.

After the Brighton studies - what next?

The BCU's response to the Brighton Report - Putting pilot voluntary canoe access agreements in place.


The law of Trespass is an extremely complicated subject, this summary is not intended to
provide a legal answer, but is given as guidance, so that paddlers are able to make a judgement
on whether or not they wish to paddle a disputed water and also on a possible form of response in the event that they are challenged.

Access Legal Position

The Present Legal Situation
February 2010
The following notes refer to England and Wales only. The law is different in Scotland where the Scottish Canoe Association can advise.

Voluntary Access Arrangements

Canoe England Voluntary Access Arrangement Position Statement - Issue date January 2009

Canoe Wales's position on Access (as detailed on the UKRGB forum)

Post on the UKRGB forum detailing their position on Access and Access Agreements.

CE Position Statement - 19th June 2012

CE have revised their statement of their position regarding rights of navigation on non-tidal waters. For the fist time they seem to be saying that they do not believe riparian owners have the right to control navigation on most rivers but there is a general right of navigation based on the research of Dr Revd Douglas Caffyn.

Canoe Wales Access Position - Feb 2014

New Canoe Wales Position Statement issued in February 2014.

Blogs with general information

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The River Avon - Salisbury to Christchurch

This 'blog' has been created in anticipation that one day, not too far in the future, the right of navigation on the River Avon (from Salisbury to Christchurch) will be accepted by all.

Canoeing & Kayaking the River Itchen

The purpose of this blog is to examine some of the objections to canoeing and kayaking on the River Itchen and the Itchen Navigation, to note where paddlesport is already taking place, and to suggest locations where paddlers might legitimately access further sections of the waterway.

Canoeing & Kayaking on the Bristol Avon

Blogspot site covering the Bristol Avon created by the BCU Waterways & Environment Advisor for the River,

Canoeing & Kayaking on the River Kennet

This guide has been created to promote the right to paddle the River Kennet, and to give you some ideas as to where to do so if you are so inclined

Court Cases

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Rivers Access Rights Blogspot

The blogspot details court cases and Acts of Parliament which have relevance to the Navigation of Inland waters and presents them as a timeline

Caffyn on Rivers - The Cases After 1830

Summary of four key cases since 1830 and their key rulings. The cases considered are Bourke V Davis, A-G v Simpson, Rawson v Peters and A-G ex rel Yorkshire Derwent Trust Ltd v Brotherton.

Attorney-General Ex Relatio Yorkshire Derwent Trust Ltd and Another -v- Brotherton and Others

The ruling of the House of Lords regarding rights of navigation on the River Derwent and principals to be applied in future such cases.

Rowland v Environment Agency '2003 - Court of Appeal)

Ruling of the Court of Appeal concerning the extinguishing of a public right of navigation on Hesdor Water on the Thames

The Mayor and Burgesses of the Town of Nottingham v Richard Lambert. (1738)

Court case which rejected right of the town of Nottingham to charge tolls for use of the River Trent on the basis that the public already had the right to navigate without let or hindrance and therefore they received no benefit from the toll which was therefore unenforceable.

The Works of Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyn

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Caffyn On Rivers

Excellent research on the rights of navigation on our rivers.

The right of public navigation on the Hampshire Avon

Legal research by Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyn has shown there to be a right of public navigation on the Hampshire Avon from Harnham Bridge near the cathedral in Salisbury 40km to the sea at Mudeford. See more.

Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyns research indicates a right of navigation by Statute, by Historic Use and by Dedication.

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The Right of Navigation on Non-tidal Rivers and the Common Law. 2004

Thesis for the degree of Master of Laws at the University of Kent 'The Right of Navigation on Non-tidal Rivers and the Common Law'. 2004 See more.

It is claimed in this dissertation that, 'In common law there is a public right of navigation on all non-tidal rivers which are naturally physically navigable by small boats and on those rivers which have been made physically navigable at public expense.'

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Once a Public Right of Navigation, Always a Public Right of Navigation

Paper by Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyn detailing how Public Right of navigation can be removed. See more.

'The Law of England is that Public Rights can only be extinguished by
1. Statute,
2. Statutory Authority,
3. Conditions changing so that the right can not be exercised,
4. By inquisition and writ of ad quod damnum. Now obsolete.
(R v Montague (1825) 4 B&C 598-605.)'

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Boats on our rivers again -by Rev'd Dr Douglas Caffyn

A booklet explaining why there is a public right of navigation on all rivers that are physically capable of navigation. See more.

'In 1973 the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Sport and Leisure stated that 'The legal question of rights of way over water must be settled. A number of different legal interpretations of this right of way have been referred to in evidence and it is time for these to be resolved.'
In this booklet the question is resolved by consideration of the law, river form and river use in a series of historical

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River Transport 1189-1600 - Rev'd Dr D Caffyn

Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex - 2010

Submission to the Sustainability Committee of the National Assembly for Wales.

This is Douglas Caffyns summary of all the issues relating to the right of Navigation which demonstrates how and why a public right of navigation exists on all rivers which are physically capable of navigation. It was submitted in evidence to the Sustainability Committee of the national Assembly of Wales in 2009

Environment Agency

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Navigation Rights and Access - Boating on the River Wye

Advice from the Environment Agency on navigation rights on the River Wye. See more.

The advice on the website (16/10/2011) is contradicted by a briefing paper that was prepared for the Wye Navigation Advisory Committee:
Rights of navigation over the principal rivers
7. - (1) All public rights of navigation and use over or along the principal rivers that exist immediately before the coming into force of this Order, however arising, shall be extinguished and replaced by the public right referred to in paragraph (2).

(2) Members of the public shall have the right to navigate and use the principal rivers.
'the principal rivers' means -
that part of the river Wye from the downstream face of Bigsweir Bridge (reference point SO 538051) to Hay Town Bridge (reference point SO 228426); and

(b) that part of the river Lugg from its confluence with the river Wye to Presteigne Town Bridge (reference point SO 316646),and includes their beds and banks;
'bank' means so much of any bank, wall, embankment, fence, wharf, quay or other feature (whether natural or artificial) as confines the waters of the rivers up to the level and the point of their overspill into the flood plain of the rivers;
(2) References in this Order to the use of the principal rivers shall be construed as meaning such use as is, according to the principles of common law, reasonably incidental to their navigation.,
It is clear from the above that a navigator has the right to use the principal rivers, including the bed and the bank (as defined) as long as such use is reasonably incidental to their navigation.
However, to remain within the provisions of Article 8 (General Rules for navigation) of the Order, such use must be reasonable and considerate.
What constitutes incidental use which might be regarded as reasonable and considerate, will need to be considered on a case by case basis. The courts might consider the launching and landing of canoes as a use reasonably incidental to navigation, it is unlikely that the courts will hold that using private land to access a launch point is such reasonably incidental use.

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Effects of Canoeing on Fish Stocks and Angling

Study by the EA on the effect of canoeing on fish stocks and angling. 'The general conclusion from this study is that canoeing is not harmful to fish populations ......' (See page 24)

(It is there.... just scroll down)

Canoe Access - how to get permission to use new stretches of water

Official Environment Agency advice on how to secure Voluntary Access Agreements.

Living on the edge - a guide to the rights and responsibilities of riverside occupation

Environment Agency publication explaining the rights and responsibilities of riparian landowners.

The EA website now includes the wording
The tidal reaches of many rivers, where the sea flows in and out of the mouth of the river, have public rights of navigation. Harbour authorities may have some control in these reaches. The Environment Agency has no remit concerning navigation unless it is the statutory navigation authority. The Environment Agency does not become involved in disputes or give legal advice concerning navigation on waters for which it has no remit.' which should be substituted for the paragraph that starts in the same way on page 27.

Guidance for Environment Agency Fisheries Bailiffs - Canoeing and Fisheries

Download The EA's guidance to bailiffs.

Government, Government Agencies & Parliament

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Contacting your MP

MPs have public contact details so their constituents can get in touch. In most cases you can write, phone, fax or email. MPs will generally only act on behalf of their constituents.

Red Card to Red Tape

A review into the regulatory burden faced by sport and recreation clubs in the UK with clear recommendations that England should adopt legislation based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code - see page 199. See more.

DEFRA should introduce a statutory right of access in England and Wales for unpowered craft to inland water for recreational purposes. This system of rights and responsibilities should be based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

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Scottish Outdoor Access Code

A code for exercising rights of access to the countryside (including to Rivers - see page 74) responsibly and respecting the needs of the environment & other countryside users.

Voluntary Canoe Access Agreement - Pilot Evaluation 2007

Research report prepared for the Environment Agency. See more.

6 Conclusions and recommendations
The voluntary canoe access agreements which have now been in place on the River Waveney and the River Mersey for twelve months have received broad levels of support from various users of the rivers, as well as landowners and businesses located along their banks. Anticipated conflicts between user groups have not materialised, and in some areas collaboration has actually increased. The access agreements are recognised as a positive step towards promoting these rivers as assets to their local areas and as places
accessible for the general public to enjoy and make use of.
? However, despite their positive reception, the access agreements have not encouraged substantial increases in the number of canoeists using either the Mersey or the Waveney.
Indeed large sections of the general public, including regular users of the rivers, remain unaware of these voluntary agreements. The low level of awareness identified through this
research links into feedback from river users that communication and publicity of the canoe access agreements needs to increase (especially on the Mersey) in order to maximise the positive benefit of the agreement. Local Authorities, sports governing bodies and those who benefit locally need to take the lead in promoting these agreements so that as many people as possible can benefit from this resource.
? The feedback gathered here regarding the trial agreements on the Mersey and the Waveney must be taken within the wider context of these two rivers. In the case of the Mersey, the low use of the river by fishermen may have reduced the potential for a conflict in priorities, whilst the harmonious mixed-use of the Waveney prior to the trial means many see the agreement as merely formalising arrangements which were already in place.
? Aside from isolated individuals, the agreements are reported to have been successfully and proficiently implemented by involved parties. It is felt that people local to the river
must be consulted and heavily involved when these agreements are delivered, as they will be affected by them. A national scheme, that doesnt involve those affected, is unlikely to be as engaging as a campaign run at a local level.
? If the Environment Agency co-ordinate such a scheme in the future it must be transparent in its actions and ensure that any issues are followed up. There is some concern that the 2007 Ipsos MORI. Contains Ipsos MORI confidential and proprietary information.

Environment Agency has not carried out all the actions it claimed it would, leading to some discontent. A clear statement of the Environment Agencys responsibilities in the process should help eliminate this problem.
? A number of people complained about the times key meetings were held at the inception stage. These stakeholders could have fed valuable information into the process, and future meetings should, wherever possible, be scheduled at times that allow people who work full time to attend.

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Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

The detail of the legislation that brought clarity to river access rights in Scotland.

Early Day Motion 1331 (2008) - River Access for non-powered craft

That this House urges the Government to extend legislation on access to the countryside in England and Wales to allow canoeists and users of non-powered craft similar access rights to water as walkers have to the land; notes that in Scotland such access, accompanied by a code of rights and responsibilities for all concerned, has been successfully implemented; and believes that increased access to waterways would lead to greater participation in canoeing, resulting both in obvious health benefits to the nation and in increased chances of future Olympic success.

Who supported it and who voted against.

Report of the National Assembly for Wales Sustainability Committee (2010)

Report of the Enquiry into Access to Inland Waters in Wales.

Putting Pilot Voluntary Canoe Access Agreements in Place

A report for the Environment Agency from The University of Brighton 2006 showing their attempts to negotiate Access Agreements and the successes and failure experienced. See more.

The BCUs response to the report is here.

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Voluntary Canoe Access Agreement Pilot Evaluation 2007

Summary report prepared for Environment Agency November 2007. Prepared by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Environment Agency.
The report focuses on the two 'sucessfull agreements' and ignores to two failures.

Early day motion 1577 -Increased Access to Waterways in England & Wales -02/06/2009

That this House applauds the British Canoe Union for staging an excellent 2009 European Canoe Slalom Championships in Nottingham, 28 to 31 May 2009, and celebrates the notable success of Team GB in taking four medals in total, two gold, one silver and one bronze; welcomes the BBC's live coverage on a busy sporting weekend; notes that over 2.5 million paddlers in Britain only have access to 1,400 miles of inland water in England and Wales, which is less than four per cent. of the total 41,000 miles of waterways over three metres wide; further notes that while the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2002 only incorporates land, the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003 and its supporting Scottish Outdoor Access Code includes waterways, ensuring that paddlers have the same rights as walkers and access to all of Scotland's waterways; and calls on the Government to set a realistic target for increased access to waterways in England and Wales by the Olympic year of 2012.

Early day motion 957 - River Access for Non Powered Craft - 07/11/2005

That this House urges the Government to extend legislation on access to the countryside to allow canoeists and users of other non-powered craft the same access rights as those provided for walkers; acknowledges that the most successful Olympic canoeing nation, Germany, requires land owners to tolerate the use of non-powered craft on their waterways; and believes that with increased access to waterways, there will be greater participation in canoeing leading both to obvious health benefits for the nation and to increased chances of future Olympic success.

A feasibility study on improving access for canoeing by voluntary agreement - by the Countryside Ag

Case studies conducted on four rivers in England in 2003 have established that
it is feasible, in some conditions, to negotiate agreements to improve access for
white-water paddle sports and canoe touring. They also offer the potential to
address user conflicts (predominantly angler/paddler) and to regulate the
environmental impacts of recreational use. However, these agreements can be
difficult and expensive to negotiate (particularly where there is little previous
experienc See more.

Negotiated access agreements alone are unlikely to fully meet the demand and
need for canoeable waters. Indeed, while demonstrating that it is feasible to
negotiate agreements, this project has equally demonstrated the shortcomings
in the negotiating process:

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Waterways For Tomorrow - Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs ( 2004)

This document follows up the White Paper A New Deal for Transport; Better for Everyone by setting out proposals for the future
of our inland waterways - the canals and navigable rivers of England and Wales.

Managing Recreation on Inland Waters in Wales : A Review of Approaches

A review of the situation in other countries of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Includes an examination of techniques and practices for managing conflicts of use etc.

Natural England Letter

Letter acknowledging Natural England's role in relation to Rights of Navigation

Natural England Guidance to Staff concerning Navigation on SSSIs

Canoeing on designated rivers which have navigation rights has led to concerns from the fishing sector, riparian owners and from canoe sport representatives. The fishing sector/riparian owners seeking to control activity on the back of perceived damage to the interest features of SSSIs and canoeists because they have been challenged by the above in the exercise of the public's common law rights over tidal waters and any specific statutory rights over non-tidal waters. This note is intended to guide staff in any discussions over this issue.

Canoe England & English Nature Memorandum of Understanding

'English Nature and the BCU agree that there is unlikely to be any significant
impact on or lasting disturbance to wildlife and the water environment from the passage of

Welsh Government - Written Statement - Improving Opportunities to Access the Outdoors for Recreation

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
Wales needs a better and fairer approach to public access for outdoor recreation which is less burdensome to administer, provides for the wide range of activities people want to participate in, with sensible safeguards for land management activities. I intend to develop proposals for consultation on how the current laws could be improved.

Legal Offences

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Trespass and Nuisance on Land

Prosecution policy and guidance from the CPS. See more.

Appears to suggest that the Part V Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA) Sections 61-80 which conferred powers on the police and created offences in connection with various forms of trespass, refers to the offence being committed 'on land'. In connection with Aggravated Trespass it also quotes an example using the Ramblers to illustrate that 'Ramblers for instance, may trespass, and may disrupt a lawful activity (for example, rounding up sheep) by doing so, but unless they have the relevant intention, they do not commit the offence. Proof of this specific intent is necessary for conviction.'

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Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975

Details of the legislation which was used to prosecute Coventry Council in 2011 See more.

Part I, Section 2, subsection 4 states - 'Subject to subsection (5) below, any person who, except in the exercise of a legal right to take materials from any waters, wilfully disturbs any spawn or spawning fish, or any bed, bank or shallow on which any spawn or spawning fish may be, shall be guilty of an offence.'

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Media (TV and Press) Coverage

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Why river access law must change

Article from Boating Business criticising the current state of Defra's view of the way to extend access to rivers for canoeing.

Troubled water ahead over right to paddle

Daily Telegraph article on the issues around The Access to Inland Waterways Bill which subsequently failed to pass it's second reading in the House of Commons.

Griff Rhys Jones interview: 'Apparently I said outrageous things'

Daily Telegraph interview with Griff Rhys Jones. The presenter justifies his recent comments on the inaccessibility of British rivers to Gerard ODonovan.

Time to make a splash

Guardian article on the campaign for the right to swim in our rivers. Wild swimming has never been more popular, but we bathers must club together to win the right to swim in nature See more.

'Wild swimming has never been more popular, but we bathers must club together to win the right to swim in nature'.

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BBC, Inside Out programme on the River Avon, in Hampshire

'1664 law could prove right to row' by Malcolm Prior, Inside Out, BBC South (make sure you watch the vidio clip)

BBC Radio 4 Open Country - Trouble on the Teifi

Tensions are running high between anglers and canoeists over access rights to Welsh waterways. Matt Baker visits Llandysul in Ceredigion to find out more - Broadcast Aug 2009

Radio 2 - Jeremy Vine

A phone in discussion about conflict between anglers and canoeists on the River Avon. (The bit you want is 1 hr 40 mins in)

Paddle pusher - by George Mombiot

George Monbiot is a columnist for the Guardian. This online article looks at the situation that faces canoeists when paddling our rivers.

BBC Online

Body needed to mediate between canoeists and anglers - On-line report of the Welsh Assembly decision to recommend progress through Voluntary Access Agreements.

Wales Online

Its beyond angling and canoeing, its about public access to water - Canoe Wales chairman Phil Blain gives the paddlers view of the dispute over access to waterways in Wales - 22 March 2011 - AMs call to end river 'confusion' - 15 April 2009

'Val Lloyd, AM, chair of the assembly petitions' committee said: 'Access should not be based on the vagaries of permissions bestowed or ability to pay, but on the fundamentals of equity and social justice.' - 'Disturb anglers' comedian urges

''if a man gently paddling a canoe down a river is a disturbance, then long live that disturbance' ....... 'What we all need to remember is that the river isn't there for a few, but for the many.'

We have no right to our rivers while Richard Benyon's interests are served

Guardian article by George Monbiot highlighting Defra's failure to deal effectively with public rights of navigation which George Monbiot attributes to Richard Benyon placing his own interests and those of the class he represents above those of the public he is meant to serve.

BBC - The fight for England's rivers: Canoeists call for greater access

From punting on the Avon, to the Oxbridge boat race, England's waterways evoke images of a bygone time spent simply messing about in boats. So why are canoeists and anglers almost coming to blows over access?

You might think that all was well on the quiet backwaters of England's waterways.

Think again.


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Priesley's Navigable Rivers and Canals - (1831)

The text of this book is preserved on An index is here.

British White Water by Terry Storry (1991)

This book has an interesting Access chapter (start at page 39)

Woolrych's Law of Waters

A Treatise Of The Law of Waters Including The Law Relating To Rights In The Sea And Rights Concerning Rivers, Canals, Dock Companies, Fisheries, Mills, Watercources Etc.. See more.

First published in 1830, this commentary is dissected by Rev. Caffyn in his recent works.
(Note the Google Docs copy is from an American 1st Ed, copied from the British 2nd Ed, 1850)

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Negotiating recreational access under asymmetrical power relations: the case of inland waterways in

This paper addresses recreational conflict between anglers and boaters in England.


The list is still incomplete but contents and main provisions are described when known (the title recorded below is descriptive and not necessarily the official title of the statute; the Act may in some cases have no relevance to waterways, or may have been repealed). NABO would be pleased to receive details and/or copies of Acts of Parliament relating to inland waterways. It should be noted that the Common Law may confer rights of navigation on certain rivers.


A thesis much referred to by Douglas Caffyn

Putting Pilot Voluntary Canoe Access Agreements in Place

An evaluation of a pilot study to extend access to four rivers. by The University of Brighton for thee Environment Agency.

Negotiating recreational access under asymmetrical power relations: the case of inland waterways in

A paper identifying the problems of negotiating fair sharing agreements while there is a perception that landowners and anglers have all the rights.

Canals & Rivers Trust, National Trust and other Institutional Landowners

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National Trust Policy for Canoeing

(See Page 9) ' The National Trust welcomes canoeists on suitable waters and should seek to identify new opportunities for canoeing.........Where fishing rights are in hand there should not be an automatic presumption in favour of fishing as opposed to canoeing.'

Canal & Rivers Trust

The website of the new charity, The Canal & Rivers Trust, which took over the responsibilities of British Waterways in England & Wales on 12th July 2012

Police View

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Letter from Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police

Letter from Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police to clarify the Police position in relation to a dispute between the Teifi Trout Association and the Llandysul Paddlers. See more.

(The copy of the letter submitted to the Welsh Assembly Sustainability committee is no longer on line but its contents can be viewed on this thread on UKRGB or this link. This letter from Heddlu Dyfed-Powys Police clearly advises them ' I cannot see that the Teifi Trout Association can make passage along the relevant sections of the river subject to a requirement that a fee is to be paid. I have caused some research to be carried out in relation to interests in water and rights in flowing water at common law. The position is that although certain rights as regards flowing water are incident to the ownership of riparian property (that is, land abutting the water) the water itself, whether flowing in a known and defined channel or percolating through the soil, is not, at common law, the subject of property or capable of being granted to anybody. Flowing or running water is therefore considered as public or common.
The Teifi Trout Association advises that they own certain parts of the river bed. By presumption of law and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the ownership of the bed of a non tidal river or stream belongs in equal halves to the owners of the riparian land. This presumption that the riparian owners, own the bed of the river as far as the centre line of the stream applies whether the land is freehold or leasehold and whether the river is navigable or non navigable. Ownership of the whole bed of the river will be presumed from ownership of the land on both sides unless it is a tidal river. Whilst, therefore, the Teifi Trout Association can own complete sections of the river bed, this is separate and distinct from the water that passes above it and any use that is made of it'
and '

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River & Navigation Law

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Angling Law. net

The web site dedicated to the provision of legal advice on angling, fishery and water law issues.(usually for angling and fishing interests and therefore not necessarily unbiased) See more.

Navigation of the Trent AD 43 - 1978 - Pages from Legal History by AE Telling

Study of the evolution of Navigation Law - by AE Telling MA Barrister (See Page 11)

The Institutes of Justinian

Roman Law on the public use of rivers and flowing water.' By the law of nature these things are common to mankind---the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the sea.'... and much more.

An Act for the Taking Away of Wears and Fishgarthes - 1472

Details of the Act of 1472 which confirmed and amplified the terms of Magna Carta in recognising and protecting Public Rights of Navigation 'by Thamise and Medway, and throughout the Realm of England ...', and established penalties for 'Disturbance of the Passages of Ships, Barges, Boats, and other Vessels...'.

Judgments - Director of Public Prosecutions v. Jones and Another

Decision of the House of Lords concerning the use of highways (and public footpaths) and possibly having a bearing on the launching of canoes from a footpath where there is a public right of way into a river where there is a public right of navigation.

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'The question to which this appeal gives rise is whether the law today should recognise that the public highway is a public place, on which all manner of reasonable activities may go on. For the reasons I set out below in my judgment it should. Provided these activities are reasonable, do not involve the commission of a public or private nuisance, and do not amount to an obstruction of the highway unreasonably impeding the primary right of the general public to pass and repass, they should not constitute a trespass.'

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Andy Biddulph's Pocket Guide to the Laws of Navigation

Andy Biddulph is not a lawyer but has nevertheless put together a useful summary of statutes and court cases and his interpretation of how that demonstrates the existance of a general public right of navigation.


A personal view of the law of navigation by Ashley Charlwood, Head of Operations and Strategic Projects at Canoe Wales.

Medieval Navigation Laws

Research of Medieval Commissions which demonstrates that navigation on all rivers physically capable of navigation was protected by the law.

The Calendar of Patent Rolls

The University of Iowa has helpfully digitised all of the Calendar of Patent Rolls so you can check the printed version of these valuable sources.

Statute of 1 Henry IV, cap 12 - A Confirmation of former Statutes touching the pulling down of Wears

A statute of 1399 protecting the navigation of rivers by confirming similar provisions in Magna Carta and the Statute 25 Edward III cap 4 and 45 Edward III cap 3

Dalton's Country Justice

A legal manual for magistrates from 1690. The section on pages 219 & 220 concerning sewers confirms 'The Inconveniencies which insue by these Nusances, and especially
by the new levying, or inhancing or Wears, Mills, Stanks, Fish-garths,Locks, Stakes, Kidles and Flood-gates, are these, scilicet, The common passage of Ships and Boats in the great Rivers;

Magna Carta - A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John

See page 343 for an analysis of Clause 33 of Magna Carta.

'The object of this provision is not open to doubt;it was intended to remove from rivers all obstacles likely to interfere with navigation.'

Public Right of Navigation - Current Case Law - By Andy Biddulph

A commentary on the cases from the last 50 years. In particular the extracts from Wills Trustees v The Cairngorm Canoe & Sailing School show the results of a careful analysis by the Law Lords of the 'Common Law of Nations' and provides objective tests by which the existence of public rights of navigation can be identified.

The Protection of Public Rights of Navigation - By River Access For All

Opponents of recognition of public rights of navigation in all rivers claim that there were historic
limitations on navigation. In particular, they claim that navigation was limited to the tidal sections
of rivers, with the exception of a limited and defined listing of the Great Rivers (e.g. Thames,
Severn and Trent). We suggest, however, Great Rivers does not have a precise meaning and
effectively means any river capable of navigation; we also believe that there is no hi

William Sharp McKechnie, Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Histor

Published in 1914, the author was the Lecturer in Constitutional Law and History at the University of Glasgow.

See Chapter 33
'All kydells for the future shall be removed altogether from Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, except upon the sea shore.'
The object of this provision is not open to doubt; it was intended to remove from rivers all obstacles likely to interfere with navigation.