The Avon Navigation Trust

AINA Representative:  Mr Nick Birch

Mill Wharf
Mill Lane
Wyre Piddle
WR10 2JF

Telephone: 01386 552517
Fax: 01386 552517


Constitutional status 

The Trust is a private non-profit distributing company, limited by guranteee with no share capital. It is a registered charity (no. 244951).

The affairs of the Trust are directed by a Council of management which, through a manager and his staff, conducts the business of the navigation.

Description of navigation

This is a mainly rural river navigation.

A brief history of the navigation

The Avon navigation from Tewkesbury to Stratford was authorised by Charles I in 1635. In 1717 the Upper Avon was defined as beginning at the tail of Evesham Lock.

For more than two hundred years the Avon navigations worked and from 1816, with the building of the Stratford and Worcester-Birmingham canals, became components of the “Avon Ring” of waterways, a circular system of one hundred and nine miles linking Stratford, Evesham, Tewkesbury, Worcester and Birmingham with connections to all parts of the national waterways system which eventually extended to about three thousand miles.

In the mid-1850’s the Upper Avon was acquired by a competing railway company. By 1874 it was derelict and closed and over the following one hundred years, most of its navigation works were swept away.

By 1930 the former linking southern section of the Stratford canal was derelict and the Lower Avon was rapidly deteriorating.

Between 1964 and 1969 the Inland Waterways Association Upper Avon Committee was formed, an anonymous donation of £80,000 was received and the Upper Avon Navigation Trust was formed. Surveys, investigations and negotiations led to a plan accepted by the Water authority.

Between 1969 and 1974, the Trust built locks, built or repaired weirs and cut canals to restore navigation between Evesham and Stratford .

In all cases the demanding work was carried out by largely volunteer labour, including servicemen and volunteer prisoners, using charitably donated funds. Of the total raised about 90% came from private pockets, 8% from Government and less than 1% from local authorities.

The work was completed on time and within the original estimated costs. On 1st June, 1974 the navigation was ceremonially reopened by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. In the following year HM the Queen travelled upon the waterway.

At the beginning of 2010 LANT and UANT finally achieved their aim to amalgamate the two trusts for the benefit of the navigation as a whole, and the people who use and enjoy it.  The Avon Navigation Trust is now the sole Authority for navigation on the River Avon.

Current situation and use


The navigation has become:

  • A Linear Park
  • A Quiet Highway

The Navigation provides opportunities for commercial development, enhanced property values, a major and reliable source of irrigation water, an excellent coarse fishery, an effective major land drain and a means of conveying treated sewage.

Plans for the future

For a number of years the Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust of which ANT is a corporate member, promoted a scheme to re-open and extend the navigation from Stratford-upon-Avon to Warwick, intending to make a direct link with the Grand Union Canal.  In early 2012 ANT commissioned a full feasibility study from Halcrow to examine the project in detail, provide engineering design solutions and recommend a plan for support, participation and funding for the project.

How we consult with our users

Users who are also members of the Trust receive a quarterly Avon Navigation Bulletin keeping them up-to-date with developments on the whole Navigation and they are also invited to be present and to vote at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting.

Any user is welcome to contact the Trust directly to express their views, but personal contact is achieved regularly through our volunteers at locks, and at the floating Waterways Information Centre at Stratford-upon-Avon. ANT also runs an active website, including Facebook and Twitter accounts to interact fully using the latest means.

How we are structured

As a charitable trust limited by guarantee, the Trust’s Council comprising members who are elected in turn for a three years term at the AGM, is the body to which all major decisions are addressed. It is responsible for the efficient operation and prudent financial management of the Trust. The Council elects a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer.

The day-to-day responsibility for the efficient operation of the Navigation comes under an Engineering Manager, who reports monthly to the Council, and the administrative work, including the issuing of licences, is run by an Office Manager.

Navigation statistics

Length/area of waterway


Number of locks





70’ 21.3 m


12’6” 3.8 m


3' 0.9mm



Boating statistics

12 month period - Licences/Registrations

Boat Type




Privately owned



Hire – day boats



Hire – overnight stay/timeshare



Hire – trip boat/ restaurant/passenger



Hire – hotel



Other business/charity boats



Requirements for boating

Boat Safety Scheme


Third Party Insurance