City of York Council
Parks and open spaces

The River Ouse

The length of the Ouse in the Yorkshire region is a fascinating area to explore. A succession of historic towns and the city of York are connected by this wide waterway, with expansive water-meadow scenery and a wide variety of wildlife.

The Millennium Bridge, which opened in 2001, creates an interesting 3.2 km (2 mile) circular walk from the city centre. It joins the north and south banks of the river from New Walk to Terry Avenue and creates a short cut to Rowntree Park and the racecourse. New Walk is a tree-lined avenue created in the 1730s during the reign of George II, following the River Ouse from the Tower Gardens downstream for approximately 1.6 km (1 mile).

The River Ouse is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse. From here it flows for 88.5 km (55 miles) through York, Selby and Goole before reaching the River Trent at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary.

The river runs for approximately 21 km (13 miles) through York stretching from the Parish of Nether Poppleton in the north to Naburn in the south. To improve navigation York Corporation built the first of two locks at Naburn in 1757. Downstream of Naburn Lock the river remains tidal. In 1989 responsibility for the River Ouse was transferred to British Waterways, who become The Canal and Rivers Trust in 2012. Historic photographs of the rivers Ouse and Foss can be found at the Imagine York website

Each year in July the river plays host to the York Rivers Festival. Events vary from year to year and past events have included rowing regattas, canoe races and displays, dragon boat racing and visits by historic barges. For details of this year's Festival see the York Festivals website

There are a number of guided river trips and self-drive boats operating on the river. Details can be obtained from the York Tourist Information Centre.

Moorings - Visiting boats

(Please refer to the PDF plan here).

48 hour visitor moorings are located between Scarborough Railway Bridge and Lendal Bridge on the northern riverbank. Boaters need to be aware that parts of this area are also used by tour boats, a seasonal boat based cafe and for Royal Gun salutes. In flood condition the moorings are completely submerged.

Basic toilet, Elsan, refuse disposal and fresh water facilities are available within Yorkshire Museum Gardens from 1st April to 30th September. A Canal and Rivers Trust key is needed to gain access. Over the next few years these facilities are due for a major upgrade as part of a new restaurant development in the area.

In 1971, to celebrate the 1900th anniversary of the founding of York, the city was granted the privilege of hosting a Royal Gun Salute. These take place from Yorkshire Museum Gardens and for safety reasons the moorings directly below firing positions are closed from 9.00am until 12.30pm on Salute days. Firing dates are:

6 February - Accession Day, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne.

21 April - Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.

2 June - Coronation Day, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

10 June - Birthday of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

14 June - Official Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.

Moorings - Residential and Private

Residential and private moorings can be found in the Fulford, Bishopthorpe and Acaster Malbis areas. York Marina, which is 6.4 km (4 miles) south of the city centre, offers both annual mooring and over night stops. City of York Council does not have any residential moorings.


The River Ouse is the home for York City Rowing Club, University of York, University of York St John and St Peters School Rowing Clubs. York City Rowing Club organises four regattas annually:

March - Yorkshire Head

May - Spring Regatta

June - Summer Regatta

September - Autumn Sprint

November - York Small Boats Head

York Millennium Bridge

The bridge opened in 2001, with funding from the Millennium Commission, City of York Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and local businesses. This pedestrian and cycle bridge joins New Walk to Terry Avenue 1.6 km (1 mile) south of the city centre creating an interesting 3.2 km (2 mile) circular walk and short cuts to Rowntree Park, York Racecourse and the University of York. New Walk is a tree lined avenue created in the 1730s during the reign of George II, following the River Ouse from the Tower Gardens downstream for approximately 1.6 km (1 mile). Details of the walk can be found in the New Walk York's Georgian Riverside Trail leaflet obtainable from the York Tourist Information Centre.  Details about more walks in York can be found on the council's countryside walks page.

Public Slipways

Blue Bridge Slipway
There is a public slipway at the bottom of Blue Bridge Lane, Fishergate onto the River Ouse. The slipway is occasionally used for canoes and small boats and has a maximum width of 2.75metres (approximately). The nearest car park is St George's Fields.

Kings Staithe Slipway
This slipway is situated at the bottom of Lower Friargate at Kings Staithe on the River Ouse. It has a maximum width of approximately 2.75 m.  Kings Staithe, adjacent to the slipway, is part of the adopted highway, however users should take note of traffic regulations in place when using the slipway. The nearest car park is St George’s Fields.

Marygate Public Landing
This is situated at the bottom of Marygate on the River Ouse and is a public landing. There are no moorings at the landing as it should be kept available for use at all times for use by members of the public.

Queen’s Staithe Public Wharf
Queen’s Staithe is situated immediately south of Ouse Bridge at the bottom of Queen’s Staithe Road. Under the 1989 Navigation Order the wharf is available as a public wharf for the loading and unloading of goods. There are no moorings at the wharf as it should be kept available for the use stated in the Order.

The Staithe itself is subject to a traffic order so users should satisfy themselves as to what traffic restrictions are in force.

Users should NOT secure their vessels to the staithe by means of the two gantries located there.

Caution - During April 2014 repair work is being undertaken in this area

Pages in Rivers

  1. Rivers
  2. You are here: The River Ouse
  3. The River Foss
  4. The River Derwent
  5. Flooding and warping
  6. Water quality
  7. Lifebelts
  8. Fishing

Friends of New Walk

Friends of New Walk website

York Canoe Club

York Canoe Club website

York City Rowing Club

York City Rowing Club

York RI Sailing Club (YRISC)

York RI Sailing Club (YRISC)

Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club

Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club

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