The Avon is navigable from Tewkesbury all the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon, 45 miles upstream. The river is one of the most picturesque cruising grounds in Britain. Its low banks mean you can relax and enjoy the rolling, green countryside as the river meanders through the Vale of Evesham and north Cotswolds, passing through historic towns and quaint villages.
The Navigation Authority for the River Avon is the Avon Navigation Trust (ANT) which is a Registered Charity. For more detailed information regarding the Avon Navigation Trust visit www.avonnavigationtrust.org
The Mill Avon
The foundations of the Mill Avon, the part of the River that runs close to the town, and parallel to the High Street, dates back to 12th century when the Benedictine monks based at Tewkesbury Abbey diverted the water course to power their mill. This stretch of River is a delightful backdrop to walking routes around the town and the Ham.
There is also short term mooring available here. For further details visit the Moorings page in the Where to Stay section.
The mighty Severn
The Severn is the longest river in Britain and is fed by tributaries high in the Welsh mountains. It flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire before entering the Bristol Channel.
The navigable section of the Severn starts at Gloucester. From there boats can travel 47 miles upstream past Tewkesbury, Upton and Worcester and on towards Stourport and Bewdley.
Along the way you'll find traditional riverside pubs offering excellent food, fine local ales and draught ciders.
Living near the flood plain
A consequence of being where the Rivers Avon and Severn join together means that a lot of the surrounding land is a natural flood plain.
Most years the town experiences flooding in surrounding fields and occasionally the water reaches the town itself. It's an occurrence that residents and businesses do their best to take in their stride and accept to live and work in such a beautiful setting.
Tewkesbury saw the largest recorded floods in 1484, 1587, 1611, 1673, 1770, 1814, 1853, 1947 and 2007. As you walk around the town some properties display marks to show where flood levels reached at their height.
Canal travel further afield
Gloucester docks are on the Sharpness Ship Canal, which provides access to the Severn Estuary leading into the Bristol Channel.
Upstream from Tewkesbury is the Birmingham and Worcester Canal. A little further north is the recently restored Droitwich Canal and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, which heads north to the West Midlands. For narrow beam boats these waterways provide access to the entire inland network.
Canal & River Boat Hire and Cruises
Holidays afloat are the perfect way to slow down the pace of life and relax whilst enjoying the scenery. Hiring a canal boat or river boat or taking a river cruise all offer great opportunities to explore the Rivers Avon and Severn. A selection of local boat hire and cruise details are listed here. Once aboard, when you're cruising through Tewkesbury, make sure you moor up at Avon Lock and cross over the river to explore the town with its independent shops, restaurants and medieval buildings.
The four star hotel boat “Edward Elgar” moored at Gloucester offers various holiday cruises. Details from English Holiday Cruises. Another option is to hire a floating cottage aboard the wide beam canal boat “Water Gypsy” details from Water Gypsy Boat Hire. The Bruce Wake Trust hire narrow and wide beam boats equipped with disabled facilities.