Medway Navigation
River Medway Tidal
Allington Lock
Allington Marina
Maidstone East Line
 A229  St Peter's Bridge
 A20  Maidstone Bridge
College Lock (removed)
River Len
Millenium foot bridge
Tovil Foot Bridge
Loose Stream
East Farleigh Lock
East Farleigh Bridge
Kettle Bridge Barming
Teston Bridge
Teston Lock
Bow Bridge, Wateringbury
Wateringbury Stream
Hampstead Marina
Hampstead Lane Lock
 B2162  Hampstead Lane
Breden's Boatyard
River Beult
Twyford Bridge, Yalding
River Teise
Automatic Sluice
Hampstead Lane Canal
Stoneham Old Lock (disused)
Medway Valley Line
 A228  East Peckham By-pass
Sluice Wier Lock
River Bourne
Stilstead Bridge
Oak Weir Lock
Ford Green Bridge
East Lock
Hartlake Bridge
Porters Lock
Eldridge Lock
Botany Stream
 A26  Cannon Bridge
Town Lock
 B2260  Big Bridge, Tonbridge
Hilden Brook
Gas Works Stream
SE Main Line
Lucifer Foot Bridge
Sharpe's Bridge
Leigh Barrier
 A21  Tonbridge By-pass
River Medway Upstream

The River Medway in England flows for 70 miles (113 km) from Turners Hill, in West Sussex, through Tonbridge, Maidstone and the Medway Towns conurbation in Kent, to the River Thames at Sheerness, where it shares the latter's estuary. The Medway Navigation runs from the Leigh Barrier south of Tonbridge to Allington just north of Maidstone. It is 19 miles (31 km) in length. The Environment Agency is the navigation authority responsible for the navigation.

The route

Until 1746 the river was impassable above Maidstone. To that point each village on the river had its wharf or wharves: at Halling, Snodland, New Hythe and Aylesford. Cargoes included corn, fodder, fruit, stone and timber.

Allington Lock and Sluice, it is at this point that the river becomes tidal.
Allington Lock and Sluice, it is at this point that the river becomes tidal.

In 1746 improvements to the channel meant that barges of 40 long tons (41 t) could reach East Farleigh, Yalding and even Tonbridge. The channel was further improved to Leigh in 1828. There are eleven locks on the river. The lowest, opened in 1792, is at Allington, and is the extent of tides. The others are East Farleigh, Teston, Hampstead Lane,Stoneham Old Lock (disused), Sluice Weir Lock, Oak Wier Lock East Lock, Porter's, Eldridge's and Town Lock in Tonbridge (see table). The locks will take craft up to 80 feet (24 m) by 18 feet (5.5 m), and vessels with a draft of 4 feet (1.2 m) can navigate the river. The shallowest point is just below Sluice Weir Lock which is prone to silting after heavy rain.[1] The draughts along the navigation are: Tonbridge to Yalding 4 feet; Yalding to Maidstone 5 feet 6 inches; Maidstone to Allington Lock 6 feet 6 inches.[2] Headroom is 8 feet 6 inches below Tonbridge.[2] College Lock, in Maidstone, was removed in 1899. Stoneham Old Lock was dismantled in 1915 as part of a reconstruction of that section of the waterway.[3]

The locks on the navigation are as follows.[2]

Locks on the Medway Navigation
Lock name Change in level Distance
Allington Lock 12’ 6” (3.81 m) 0
East Farleigh Lock 5’ 3” (1.60 m) 7.2 km (4.5 mi)
Teston Lock 6’ 3” (1.90 m) 10.4 km (6.5 mi)
Hampstead Lane Lock 9’ 3” (2.82 m) 15.28 km (9.49 mi)
Stoneham Old Lock Demolished 17.7 km (11.0 mi)
Sluice Weir Lock 9’ 0” (2.74 m) 18.8 km (11.7 mi)
Oak Weir Lock 6’ 3” (1.90 m) 20.8 km (12.9 mi)
East Lock 6’ 0” (1.82 m) 22.0 km (13.7 mi)
Porter’s Lock 4’ 3” (1.30 m) 24.0 km (14.9 mi)
Eldrige’s Lock 5’ 3” (1.60 m) 25.6 km (15.9 mi)
(Tonbridge) Town Lock 5’ 2” (1.57 m) 28 km (17 mi)

See also


  1. ^ The Medway navigation, Leaflet,March 1991, NRA-National Rivers Authority
  2. ^ a b c Nicholson (2006). Waterways Guide 1: Grand Union, Oxford and the South East. London: Harper Collins. pp. 124–35. ISBN 978-0-00-721109-8.
  3. ^ McKnight, Hugh. Shell Book of Inland Waterways. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. pp. 345–347.