We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.


A beautiful rural canal of two halves, the upper reaches between Canal Head and Melbourne have un-restored locks, tree lined towpaths and classic humpbacked bridges. This is the perfect location for a walk with the family, with plenty of wildlife to spot and views to enjoy. The lower reaches lie in an open landscape of traditionally managed floodplain meadows, rich in wildlife, dotted with distinctive swing bridges.

General information

Address: Melbourne, York, YO42 4QJ

Visit time: 3hrs - 4hrs

Price: With free parking, it won't cost you a thing

Parking: Canal Head at Pocklington has a small free car park. Melbourne has some on-street parking about 100-150 yards away from the canal.

Toilets: For customers of the local pub/café

Free visitor guide

Great for

Only the lower reaches of the canal are open to boats, so be sure to head to Melbourne Arm to enjoy a short cruise aboard the New Horizons Trip Boat in the summer.

  • Dog walking
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Walking

Spot a boat

You might see a few boats, but a large stretch of the canal is only open to walkers at the moment


Boat trips

Picnic spot

Don't forget your blanket and hamper - there are benches at the Canal Head in Pocklington and many charming spots for some al-fresco dining


Virtually the entire length of the Canal falls within one of three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). You'll find herons, mute swans, mallards, kingfishers and dragonflies here. During spring and summer these meadows are a blaze of colour supporting many species of wildflower and providing a home for hundreds of nesting wildfowl and waders. In winter these same meadows support even larger numbers of wildfowl, with birds coming from as far away as Siberia and Poland.