River nene information

The River Nene rises in Northamptonshire and flows almost 100 miles to The Wash, 88 miles of the river are navigable between Northampton and The Wash. 
The pronunciation of the river is often a sore point between those at the Northampton end who pronounce is as Nen and those at the Peterborough end who say Neen, the pronunciation is said to change at Islip bridge. Here at Elton Boat club it is pronounced as the Neen.

While some boaters will use the Nene as transit between the canal system and the Great Ouse many others call the Nene their home mooring. The river has marinas at Northampton, Earls Barton, Lilford Oundle and Ringstead. There are also boat clubs at Northampton (Northampton boat club), Oundle (Oundle Cruising club), Titchmarsh (Middle Nene Cruising Club), Warmington (Elton boat club), Alwalton (Peterborough Cruising Club) and Peterborough (Peterborough Yacht Club). There is also the Watermen's club at March on the old course of the River Nene. 

There are 38 locks on the Nene, they are a standard size of 78ft x 13ft. Most have a guillotine gate at the downstream end which must be left fully up when exiting the lock, the upstream end have mitre gates which are left closed. A few locks have mitre gates at both ends and these can be left as you exit. Many of the guillotine gates are powered by an electric motor although a few are still hand wound with a wheel, it often requires up to 100 turns to raise or lower the guillotine. During times of high river flow the locks are reversed by the Environment Agency, often this is for much of the winter and this must be taken into account when planning winter passages. Please check below to see if strong steam advice is in operation, you can also sign up for alerts from the Environment Agency or telephone the SSA number below.

Current strong stream notices

Strong Stream Advice

EA SSA telephone number 0345 988 1188 code 032112

River Nene Moorings

The Environment Agency offer a handful of short stay moorings and the Friends of The River Nene have moorings available to members. Starting from Northampton the moorings are Northampton Town Quay (48 hours, managed by Northampton Borough Council), Northampton Marina (£10 overnight mooring fee applies), Midsummer Meadows (48 hours, managed by the EA, currently occupied by unofficial residential boats so mooring is very limited), Northampton Washlands (48 hours, EA), Northampton Boat club (private members club but visitors welcome), Billing Marina (private marina, fee may apply), White Mills Marina at Earls Barton (private marina, fee may apply), Hardwater Mill, Great Doddington (Friends of the River Nene members), Manor Farm at Great Doddington (Friends of the River Nene members), Wellingborough Embankment (48 hours, EA, water point), Chester House (48 hours, EA), Water Ski Lake at Ditchford (Friends of the River Nene members), Rushden & Diamonds at Irthlingborough (48 hours, EA), Stanwick Lakes (Friends of the River Nene members), Little Addington (Friends of the River Nene members), Blackthorn Marina (private marina, fee may apply), Woodford (Friends of the River Nene members), Nine Arches Bridge at Thrapston (48 hours, EA), Islip Dave Mooring (Friends of the River Nene members), Islip Mill (48 hours, EA), Titchmarsh Lock (48 hours, EA), MNCC at Titchmarsh Mill (private boat club with visitors mooring), Peartree Farm (Friends of the River Nene members), Kings Head Wadenhoe (pub mooring, fee may apply), Lilford Lodge Marina (private marina, fee may apply), Oundle Cruising club (private boat club with visitors mooring), Oundle Marina (private marina, fee may apply), Castle Farm at Fotheringhay (a favourite with members of EBC, £2.50 for a short stay or £5 overnight paid to the farmer and donated to Fotheringhay Church), Elton Boat Club (please use our contact form to check our visitors mooring is available),  Upstream of Elton Lock (unofficial mooring, short stay), Nene Valley Railway Wansford Station (48 hours, EA), Peterborough Cruising Club (private boat club, check in advance for visitor mooring), Pudding Lane Alwalton (Friends of the River Nene members), Alwalton (48 hours, EA), Overton Lake at Ferry Meadows (short stay), Orton Lock (48 hours, EA), Peterborough Embankment (48 hours, managed by Peterborough City Council)

Middle Levels

The Nene connects with the Middle Levels at Stanground in Peterborough and from here you can access the Old course of the Nene through March and then Well Creek to access the River Great Ouse. An Anglian pass is required for the Middle Levels or a licence can be purchased for transit. 

The tidal river and The Wash

Boaters with suitable craft can enter The Wash, Wisbech is a good place to stop and wait for the tide and offers floating moorings. An up to date chart of The Wash is essential as the sand banks constantly shift. Narrowboats have been known to venture into The Wash although a pilot or expert knowledge is advisable. Wisbech Yacht harbour can be contacted on 01945 588059. 


Fotheringhay from the air

Nene Valley sunset

The Nene Valley between Higham Ferrers & Irthlingborough

The Wash

Sand bank in The Wash

The Nene enters The Wash

Nene entrance to The Wash 


Wildlife on the River Nene


River Nene at Higham Ferrers