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Environment and animals

Rivers in York

The management and operation of York’s rivers, the River Ouse, and the River Foss, is taken care of by several organisations.

Find out about:

At least 2 days before you wish to travel on the River Foss, telephone: 07588 236597 or email:, providing both your contact details and boat details.

For further details, see Inland Waterways Association, North Riding Branch.

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Find out about moorings on the River Ouse and moorings on the River Foss.

Please note: we do not have any residential moorings.

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Life buoys

Life buoys are inspected weekly; missing or damaged belts and ropes are replaced.

To report a missing or damaged life buoy, contact our Customer Centre, telephone: 01904 551550, quoting the unique number of the life buoy housing.

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Water quality

For water quality issues including pollution incidents in rivers, contact the Environment Agency.

Check who's responsible for fly-tipping in and along York's rivers.

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Fishing is free, on both the River Ouse and the River Foss, on river banks we own in the city centre. However, a rod licence is required; visit the Environment Agency website for further information.

Council-owned river banks in York:

  • RSPCA Landing Lane downstream to North Street Gardens
  • Terry Avenue, starting after the residential moorings downstream, stopping at the farmland
  • River Ouse, west bank
  • River Ouse, east bank
  • Clifton Bridge downstream to Marygate Landing
  • Skeldergate Bridge downstream to York Motor Yacht Club
  • Foss Basin
  • River Foss, west bank, Huntington Road upstream to Yearsley Bridge South
  • River Foss, east bank, upstream of the new bridge to Peasholme Green to Layerthorpe Bridge, then Monkbridge Gardens upstream to Yearsley Bridge

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Flooding and warping

Many of York's riverside footpaths and parks regularly become unusable when river levels are high, including:

  • Dame Judi Dench Walk
  • King's Staith
  • Queen's Staith
  • Tower Gardens
  • New Walk
  • Terry Avenue
  • Rowntree Park

See information on what to do during flooding in York.

Once river levels recede and when re-flooding is not thought to be imminent, riverside footpaths and cycle paths are cleared of silt, mud and debris which is known as 'warping'. Read our Warping Policy.

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More about York's local rivers

The River Derwent rises on Fylingdales Moor and reaches the River Ouse at Barmby on the Marsh. It marks York's eastern boundary for 16 kilometres (10 miles), running through the parishes of Kexby, Elvington and Wheldrake.

The area around Wheldrake is the start of the internationally important Lower Derwent National Nature Reserve; for more information, visit Natural England.

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Inland Waterways Association

The Inland Waterways Association campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
Red text-based logo with wavy line icon: Ousewem; rising waters, rooted solutions.

Find out about Ousewem, an innovative flood resilience project driving integrated, long-term approaches to safeguarding North Yorkshire communities.

Ousewem flood resilience project