Canoeing the facts, U.K.

sam vimes

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On rivers moving course there is Victorian case law on this .My head will hurt if I read the whole chapter of my old text book in its brain crushing detail but the starting point is that in the case of a slow , imperceptible change over the years the rights 'move' with the river but in the case of a sudden change of course they don't - you lose it .

I'm not a member of that particular stretch near Ripon, so walking it is out of the question. I did see some belting photos of the immediate aftermath. Would you happen to know whether the landowners have re-routed the river back into its original course?
 

sam vimes

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If it me the answer yes I just let pass and got on with my fishing just can't be bothered. In one case there were over 30 who exercising there rights of navigation over the river once a year. This was on the Suffolk Stour between Long Melford and Flatford Mill all this water was club owned. But this river does have a history of navigation many years ago.

As far as I can tell, the Suffolk Stour has an existing legal right of navigation. Anglers would have no justification whatsoever to deny canoeists/paddleboarders/rowers passing through. The landowners owners might be able to stop them from crossing their land for access/egress of the water, but that would be all.

I recall staying in Sudbury for a week over twenty years ago. There was plenty of evidence that it was a navigable river. Even looking on google maps shows a riverside adventure centre with its own slipway and the rowing club with its own quay and access channel to the main river. Looking at the pictures, I'd suspect that it was once a commercial wharf. Signs of navigation being exercised above Sudbury are a little more difficult to discern from maps, but that certainly doesn't mean that they don't exist.

These may be of interest.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/flatford/features/navigation-on-the-river-stour

https://www.riverstourtrust.org/news/craft-registrations-2020-21/
 
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mikench

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Thankfully the law is behind me also although riparian rights didn't feature a great deal in the commercial, property and tax world I occupied. It's a tricky subject and the likely expense of litigation dissuades most from taking action.
 

sam vimes

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Here's a real local oddity that local canoeists sometimes try to cite as evidence of a right of navigation on Bedale Beck and the River Swale it flows into. Unfortunately for the canoeists, they may have built a "harbour"/wharf, but the canalisation of the beck was never finished and no right of navigation was ever established. It was just a white elephant that was left to puzzle people. There are even dirty great iron mooring rings mounted on a "wall" behind yards of dry land and many feet above the normal water level. Similar engineering remnants exist on the main river (Topcliffe Lock at the site of Topcliffe Weir), but the overall project never got off the ground. If they'd have started a good hundred years earlier, there would probably be a right of navigation on the Swale and Bedale Beck. As it stands, there is a right of navigation on the Ure (that the Swale joins), right up to Ripon, and the Ouse (that the Ure becomes), but not on the Swale.

https://www.darlingtonandstocktonti...ered-an-engineering-project-of-the-canal-age/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedale_Beck
 

grayson

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Yeah , I had that discussion with some belligerent canoeist on the Swale. Unfortunately for him I had actually read the Act in question, and he hadn't . There was no right of navigation because the works and conditions the Act provided for had never been done, with just some minor preparatory work before the whole thing was abandoned .No Swale commissioners , no registration of vessels , no fee structure for users and ...err... no boats . The Act was still on the books , dead as a dodo and as relevant today as the Act which enabled Welshmen to be killed on sight if found after dark in Chester was it ?
 
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I'm not a member of that particular stretch near Ripon, so walking it is out of the question. I did see some belting photos of the immediate aftermath. Would you happen to know whether the landowners have re-routed the river back into its original course?
I've not since been up to confirm it personally, but have heard that the river is now largely back in its original course, albeit somewhat depleted. No human intervention, just natural action of floodwater. Bound to happen again though - the land in that area is very mobile!

On a different note - some years ago on the same stretch (although a couple of miles upstream) a mate & I confronted a canoeist coming illegally down the river. It was easily done - we just waded out in front of him & stopped him passing, but insisted he went back upstream to where he'd entered (& where there is legitimate canoeing). First off he said his mates were picking him up 2 or 3 miles downstream - to which the answer was 'tough'!
Secondly he claimed to be a member of the BCU & that members had the right to canoe on the River Ouse. We both acknowledged that he was absolutely correct in his assertion & then took great delight in suggesting that he gave up canoeing & started to study geography. This confused him somewhat so we politely pointed out that he was on the River Ure, not the Ouse.

He went back upstream!
 
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