The River Stour is one of the most fascinating and attractive rivers in the country, winding through a wide pastoral and wooded valley past towns and villages of great beauty and historic associations. The very best to explore it is by boat.

During the reign of Queen Anne in 1705, an act of Parliament was passed making the River Stower (Stour) navigable from Sudbury in Suffolk to Manningtree in Essex.

Work was soon underway to allow barges, boats, lighters and other vessels to use the route and such scenes are familiar to many through the landscape paintings of John Constable (1776-1837).

A public right of navigation remains to this day, but over the centuries many locks fell into disrepair and today you can now only take a small boat such as a canoe or kayak the full 25 miles from Brundon Mill (upstream from Sudbury) to the sea at Brantham in Essex.

Today the locks are being restored and access points are re-instated and maintained so that we can all enjoy a day out on the River Stour.

The River Stour is one of the most attractive rivers in the country, winding through a wide pastoral and wooded valley past town and villages of great beauty and historic associations including Sudbury, Great Connard, Shelford, Bures, Wormingford (down into Constable Country), Boxted, Stratford St Mary, Dedham and Flatford before reaching the sea.

Through the work of The River Stour Trust  you can now enjoy much more of this lovely river and there are many river-based activities for all the family such as the River Stour Boat Trips.

Flatford Lock, Dedham Lock, Great Cornard Lock, Flatford Barge Dock, the Quay Basin at Sudbury, Gasworks Cut at Sudbury and The Granary building at Quay Lane, Sudbury have all been restored and work is underway to restore Stratford St Mary Lock to open a further three miles of the navigation.

You will find a Visitor Education Centre next to Great Cornard Lock – well worth a visit, you can learn about the history of the River Stour Navigation, its importance in Britain’s industrial and cultural heritage and the River Stour Trust’s role in promoting use of this historic waterway.

Stay in the region with Suffolk Cottage Holidays.