Wakefield Branch (Aire & Calder Navigation)

The Wakefield Branch of the Aire & Calder Navigation is seven and half miles long and links Wakefield to Castleford.

View of Hepworth Gallery across weir Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield
Wakefield Branch  
Length 7.5 miles
Locks 4
Maximum boat dimensions
Guide only - weather conditions affect water levels
  • Length
  • Width
  • Draught
  • Headroom
  • 21.4m 70ft 2"
  • 5.4m 17ft 8"
  • 2.3m 7ft 6"
  • 3.88m 12ft 9"
  Limits at Heck Road Bridge - see full dimensions 

To find details such as moorings, boaters' facilities and access points, you'll need to zoom to the map fully. Click the red 'i' icon in the bottom right hand corner to expand the key.

Travelling from Wakefield you'll pass over the Stanley Ferry Aqueducts which sit side-by-side, one having been built in the Victorian era and the other in 1981.

You'll then pass by Whitwood Wharf, which until recently was the furthest inland that commercial barges could come from the sea at Goole.

As you near Castleford you'll pass Fairies Hill Moorings. The moorings sit on the site of a former coal wharf where ‘tom puddings’ (rectangular iron tub-boats, 21ft long and 15ft wide) were filled up with coal for the collier ships at Goole.

This information has been put together with the help of Mel Smith. If you have know any interesting facts about the Wakefield Branch please let us know via our Contact us form

The history

Although originally built under the Aire & Calder's first Act of 1699, much of the route today dates from improvements in the 1820s. The original terminus on the river at Wakefield still survives, but is not navigable. Today, boats use the canal on the other side of the river which was built by the Calder & Hebble Navigation to connect with the Aire & Calder.