Rivers in York

Foss navigation: temporary restriction to navigation

The Council are currently undertaking refurbishment works to the Blue Bridge at the entrance to Foss Basin and this will result in the bridge being unable to raise to allow larger vessels into the Foss Navigation. This is a temporary restriction which will be in force for 3 to 4 weeks from 16 August 2017.

The contact at the Council overseeing the work is Andrew Willison, Structural Engineer, who can be contacted on 01904 551212 or by email on andrew.willison@york.gov.uk

Please note that a further temporary restriction will be in place for a 3-week period commencing on 2 October 2017 in order to undertake additional refurbishment works and this will result in the bridge being unable to be raised during this time.

The Council apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to users of the Foss Navigation.

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



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 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 us quoting the unique number of the life buoy housing.

Water quality

For water quality issues, please contact the Environment Agency. To report a pollution incident, call the Environment Agency 24 hour pollution hotline, tel: 0800 807060.


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

Here is a list of 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 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
  • Kings Staith
  • Queens 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. This is known as 'warping', see our Warping policy.

For more information on flooding, contact the Environment Agency's Floodline on tel: 0845 9881188.

More about York's local rivers

See information on:

The River Derwent marks rises on Flyingdales 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 the Natural England website.

Also see

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