Welcome to the website of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust.

The waterway, nearly nine miles long, is Norfolk’s only locked wherry sailing canal and was opened in 1826.  It runs from Antingham, north west of North Walsham, to Wayford Bridge, west of Stalham. Built by 100 Bedford navvies starting in 1825 it opened the following year in 1826.  Wherries would sail its length transporting cargo to and from the mills and communities along its route (see the maps page) the canal was last sailed in 1934 by the Wherry “Ella”.

The Canal’s decline began with the arrival of the railway and over the following decades became choked with vegetation. Many stretches were completely dry and its infrastructure of locks and bridges were crumbling.  By 2001 volunteers from the East Anglian Waterways Association (EAWA) were launched and we now have regular working parties to rescue the Canal.

The EAWA’s success led to the formation of the Canal Trust in January of 2008.

Work carried out by The Old Canal Company, their employees and Trust volunteers means that a two-and-a-half mile stretch of the Canal, from Ebridge Mill Pond to Swafield Bridge, is in use once more and is proving popular for activities including walking, canoeing, sailing, fishing, wild swimming and bird watching, not forgetting the hobby of photography.  

Ten years later on the 29th October 2018, the Trust became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation being allocated the charity number of 1180474.

Ivan Cane, Retired Chair of the Canal Trust, said: “The restoration of a canal is not just for boaters. A restored canal corridor, as seen on the Ebridge reach, becomes a community asset and a tourist attraction. The permissive paths, running alongside this stretch of water are giving people the chance to relax, walk, picnic, pond dip, watch wildlife, fish or gongoozle at the passing canoeists or sail boats. Here at Ebridge, Norfolk’s industrial archaeological gem is coming back to life, and open for all to enjoy”.

Huge gratitude must go toward Laurie and Julie Ashton (The Old Canal Company) who allow us all to enjoy, with ‘permissive’ rights, the beauty of their section of the canal.

Also, huge thanks to the Old Canal Company’s staff (Jeremy Cushion) who with all of the NWDC Trust volunteers have made such an impact to what was once a neglected architecturally historic waterway in the North East of Norfolk.

A huge thanks to all who have worked on the North Walsham and Dilham Canal recovery project.

Today, one family and three companies own different sections of the Canal.