Restoration of a Stour Lighter

The River Stour Trust was formed in 1968 to fight the proposed closure of navigation on the river. It is based in Cornard and its aims have been to preserve the public right to access the Stour from Sudbury to Brantham and to enhance the River Stour. It has restored several locks and saved one of the original Stour barges (now called the John Constable) from the muddy grave where it had laid hidden since 1914.  River Stour Trust

Replacement of Lock Gates - Flatford 2014

River Stour Trust

The River Stour Trust seeks to reinstate the locks along the river to enable through navigation. In addition, The Trust aims to bring the story of the River Stour Navigation to visitors, schools and anyone with an interest in the industrial heritage of the area. Also now completed is the visitor centre at Sudbury and the formation of an archive there is underway. This will hold the Trust’s records and artefacts and should further ensure that this important development is remembered in the future. 

The River Stour Trust has been at the heart of the following developments: 

  • Flatford Lock restored in the 1990s (through a national appeal) and again in 2014 – for the latter, the Trust raised £80,000, the Environment Agency contributed £5,000 with other funding provided by Veolia and Essex Environment Trust. Opened by Gryf Rhys Jones.
  •  Cornard Lock opened in 1997 – the original lock had been derelict since the 1920s. The Trust was responsible for construction of this new lock with financial support from the National Lottery
  • Stratford St Mary Lock – restored and opened in 2018 by Griff Rhys Jones  after a 12-year project. As well as fund- raising by the Trust contributions were received from Enovert (formerly Cory Environmental Trust in Britain), Inland Waterways Association Tony Harrison Legacy Fund .
  • An 18th century granary at Cornard saved and is now the Trust’s HQ and an education and visitors centre
  • One of the original Stour barges (now called the John Constable)  saved from the muddy grave where it had laid hidden since 1914 and restored to such a condition that it carries passengers on the Stour.

 Every year The Trust runs boat trips that allow hundreds of people to enjoy the river. It is now possible to travel between Sudbury to Brantham by canoe and each year the Trust organises a ‘Sudbury to the Sea’ two day trip down the river. As people have to carry their boat around obstacles anything larger than a canoe is not practical.

For more information about the work of the River Stour Trust in opening up the river to navigation please click on River Stour Trust Locks 

River Stour Projects