Environment and animals

Rivers in York

The management and operation of York’s rivers is taken care of by several organisations.


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

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


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 café and for Royal Gun salutes.

In flood conditions, the moorings are completely submerged. The Canal and River Trust are responsible for the enforcement of mooring bylaws. Toilet, Elsan, refuse disposal and fresh water facilities are available within the Starr Inn complex.

Please note: we do not have any residential moorings.

Life buoys

Life buoys are inspected weekly and missing or damaged belts and ropes are replaced. To report a missing or damaged life buoy, contact our Customer Centre on telephone: 01904 551550, quoting the unique number of the life buoy housing.

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.


Fishing is free on both the River Ouse and the 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 once you are past the residential moorings downstream, stopping once you reach the farmland)
  • River Ouse - west bank
  • River Ouse - east bank
  • Clifton Bridge downstream to Marygate Landing, Skeldergate Bridge downstream to York Motor Yacht Club
  • River Foss
  • Foss Basin
  • West Bank - Huntington Road upstream to Yearsley Bridge South / East bank - upstream of the new bridge to Peasholme Green to Layerthorpe Bridge, then Monkbridge Gardens upstream to Yearsley Bridge

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

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

See emergency plans for flooding in York.

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 16km (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.

Also see

Inland Waterways Association

The Inland Waterways Association campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.