North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust


History of the Canal

Today the Old Canal Co. Ltd. owns the top 2¼ miles of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal.  The rest remains in the hands of The North Walsham Canal Co. Ltd, except for a short length at the top of the canal owned by Mr M Starling and the bottom tidally influenced section below Honing Lock owned by Paterson Estates.  

This is Norfolk’s only artificial, locked sailing canal and was opened in 1826.  8¾ miles in length, it ran from Antingham Bone Mills, 1½ miles NW of North Walsham, to Wayford Bridge where it joined the navigable River Ant.  It used 6 large locks along its length to enable the 20 ton wherries to ascend the 58ft rise to Antingham.

Although built for the carriage of coal, it remained cheaper to transport this overland from the coast.  As a result the main cargoes were to and from the mills – including a local cabbage wherry to Gt. Yarmouth.  In the late 19th century some of the first pleasure wherries, converted from commercial craft, were based on the canal.  However trade was low and the canal from Swafield Locks to Antingham was closed in 1893 and officially abandoned in 1927.  The section above Bacton Wood Lock was breached in the flood of August 1912 and the following repairs were poor.  


Click HERE to read the history of the NW&D Canal on the 'East Anglian Waterways Association' website


'Swafield on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal' - by Ivan Cane.

"Ella" Wherry owned by Nat Bircham -  Canal Boat Trip renaming event - by Alex Hurrell.


Click HERE for the Norfolk Mills website  -  Permission granted by J Neville.

Antingham Bone Mill - Upper          Antingham Bone Mill - Lower         Swafield Mill

Bacton Wood Mill              Ebridge Mill               Briggate Mill                 Dilham Mill

Click HERE for the George Plunkett website - Permission granted by J Plunkett.

30/8/1998 - N Walsham Bacton Wood watermill on canal [7569]  From SE, built about mid 1820s. 

30/8/1998 - N Walsham Bacton Wood watermill on canal [7570]

27/7/1997 - N Walsham Ebridge watermill on canal [7468]

27/7/1997 - Honing Weir on N Walsham Dilham canal [7469]

27/7/1997 - N Walsham and Dilham canal Ebridge lock [7467]

Click HERE for The Francis Frith website  -  all photos have copyright

Bacton Wood Mill c 1955

Bacton Wood Mill c 1955

Old canal from Bacton Wood Bridge c 1955

Heritage:   Grade II Listed Bridges of the canal

The Bridge at Bradfield

The Bridge at Anchor Rd, Spa Common

From 1962 - East Anglian Film Archive   -   Anglia TV interview with Len Ramuz

The NW&DC Trust would like to hear if you have any 'memories' of the canal!

Click HERE to send an e-mail to a member of the Trust team

Click here to view the EAWA North Walsham & Dilham Canal 'Then & Now' pages.

Click here to view the EAWA North Walsham & Dilham Canal Work Party reports with pictures.

Page updated: 10th November 2016



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Contact Us

North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust

Trust Administrator
Mob: 07954 055966