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The River Foss

The source of the River Foss is a spring situated adjacent to, and flowing into, Oulston Reservoir near Newburgh Prior, north of Easingwold. From there to the Blue Bridge in York, where it joins the River Ouse, the River Foss is 31km (19.5 miles) in length.

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Using the River Foss

When using the River Foss please consider:

  • the River Foss is only navigable for 2 kilometres (1.5 miles) upstream of Castle Mills Lock
  • headroom is restricted for Layerthorpe upstream by Peasholme Green and Foss Bank bridges with an air space of 2.4 metres
  • Foss Walk follows much of the river course from Blue Bridge to Oulston Reservoir and then on to Easingwold, a distance of 45 kilometre (28 miles)
  • we are the 'navigation authority' for the River Foss; for required consents, queries or concerns about navigation contact our Asset and Property Management Team
  • there are very limited opportunities for turning on the River Foss beyond Rowntree Wharf

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Moorings on the River Foss

There are no mooring points in the Foss Basin, other than for vessels negotiating Castle Mills Lock.

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Castle Mills Lock

Access the upper part of the River Foss is via Castle Mills Lock, which is 34 metres long and 6 metres wide.

To arrange to pass through Castle Mills Lock contact our Asset and Property Management Team; charges apply and you must have valid insurance documents with you.

Alternatively, the lock can be operated by members of the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association - contact them directly at least 4 days before you want to enter the River Foss.

Boaters are requested to pass back down through Castle Mills lock within 2 hours.

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Also see


Asset and Property Management

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 552167/553305