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 Stour and would like to enable navigation from Sudbury to Manningtree. 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. There is a visitor centre at Sudbury and the Trust is in the process of collating an archive to  hold the Trust’s records and artefacts including many photographs.  

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

  • Flatford Lock restored in the 1990s (through a national appeal) and although the 1990 gates were made of oak by the 21st century they had rotted and had to be replaced again in 2014. The Trust raised £80,000, the Environment Agency contributed £5,000 with other funding provided by Veolia and Essex Environment Trust. The 2014 lock gates are made of Eke and the upgrade was opened by Gryf Rhys Jones. 
  •  Cornard Lock –  the original lock had been derelict since the 1920s and the Trust was responsible for construction of a new lock in 1997 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 has now been saved by the Trust and is now the Trust’s HQ and an education and visitors centre
  • One of the original Stour barges (now called the John Constable) has been saved from the muddy grave where it had laid hidden since 1914 and restored to such a fine condition that it now 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