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The beautiful 14 mile Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is looked after by Essex Waterways Ltd. The waterway runs through a largely unspoilt part of rural Essex. It connects the city of Chelmsford with the Blackwater Estuary at Heybridge Basin. 

We manage the Navigation on a non-profit making basis; we get no financial support from Government and we rely on a small number of dedicated staff and our amazing team of volunteers to keep the Navigation open, and hopefully make improvements as the years go by.  Every time you buy a licence, or some refreshments from the kiosk, or hire our canoes, you are helping to keep the Navigation going.

Please consider offering to volunteer for us, or help keep the waterway clear of litter, or think of us in your will!  We rely on public support and your goodwill.  We will do our best to make your visit a happy one, but if everything is not quite right, please bear with us and see how you can help – we do get a bit over-stretched at times.

For trip boat, caravan and motor home bookings, canoe hire, licences and Navigation enquires, contact our Paper Mill Office on 01245 226245


Contact Us

General Enquiries
[email protected]  If you don’t get a quick response, it means that we are really busy.  If you need an urgent response, please telephone.

Heybridge Lockkeeper
Paul Hindley
(based at Heybridge Basin)
07712 079764
[email protected]

The Navigation Office
Sarah Phillips / Mandy Lawrence
(based at Paper Mill Lock)
01245 226245
[email protected]

[email protected]

Emergency contact number: 07966 375351

The safety of waterway users, staff, volunteers and every visitor to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation is of the greatest concern to us.  If you spot something that needs attention, then please let us know – get in touch using the contact details above.

Things to do

Boat Trips

Step on board one of our trip boats and enjoy a cruise along the glorious Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex with Chelmer Cruises. The Navigation offers nearly 14 miles of waterway to explore.