Welcome to 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.

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. At Ebridge and at Spa Common Norfolk’s industrial archaeological gem is coming back to life”.

A huge thanks to all who have worked on, and made donations for the benefit of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal recovery project.

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


Important note for ramblers: The Trust is aware that some ‘walking/rambling’ online apps provide inaccurate information.  What was once an open canal walk has been closed by the canal owner for the section from Mundesley Rd, Swafield, Nth Walsham down to the spillway at Ebridge, Happisburgh Rd, Nth Walsham.  If you should see any fencing advising ‘private property’ please do not try to get around or move the fencing.  All other Norfolk County Council ‘public rights of way should not be affected.  

Recent Updates

22/11/2023 – no news at present but please keep an eye on this page for website updates. (JK)

29/07/2023 – 2021 & 2022 “Quagmire” Trust newsletters added – available to read HERE (click on the image to open the PDF newsletter).

21/06/2023 – Canal boat trips website page re-designed.  View the details for our TWO boat trips HERE