Canoe Days Out

Sussex - River Ouse - Barcombe Mills to Fish Ladder Falls (& return)

This page was submitted by Keith Day (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Take the A26 north from Lewes for 4 miles. At Upper Wellingham turn left for Barcombe Cross and at Barcombe Cross turn right. After half a mile fork right into Boast Lane then left into Dallas Lane , them right into Anchor lLane. The Anchor Inn is at the end.

For those with SatNav the postcode is BN8 5BS.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - The landlord at the Anchor Inn is apparently happy for you to park in his car park (avoiding the charges for the car park over the road) providing you have a drink or a meal at the end of your trip. Its always polite to ask though. Launch over the bank.

General Description - Head north upstream for about 2 miles through unspoilt countryside to fish ladder falls.

If you need to you can hire boats from the Anchor Inn.

Apparently the BCU has an agreement with the Ouse Angling Society not to canoe above Hamsey on the first weekend after 16th June every year.

The Ouse used to be a commercial waterway and rights of navigation may still exist but it's a bit of a grey area above Barcombe. The sections upstream of Barcombe are lovely and the Anchor is a reasonable pub for a lunch/tea break. For advice on access upsteam of Barcombe please contact The BCU Local Rivers Advisor for the Sussex Ouse who is Clive Edwards tel. 01273 558145.

Comments on this trip

Bluebell River
15 Aug 2020
Paddle upstream along the river Ouse. Along the way we will no doubt pass anglers fishing the river for carp, pike and trout. The river offers an abundance of wildlife to see along the way including kingfishers, moorhen, swan, greylag goose, and grey wagtails to name a few. The river splits into two. You can take either one, the right one (under a low bridge) is much easier. Left is VERY shallow at points (inches deep) After one mile reach the Anchor inn weir. Careful! Owner of inn can be aggressive! Get out on RHS!!! Right hand side!!! BCU has forged access agreement with farmer!! Portage for approx 50m and put in!After Anchor pub approx half hour, the River splits go right!! Next river split go left!! Past the Anchor Inn paddle for approximately a further two miles to Isfield Weir. NoteNavigation opened in 1812 following an Act of Parliament of 1790. Although the navigation has fallen out of use the Act has never been repealed.

Martin Lock
24 Dec 2017
I wouldn't bother getting involved with the Anchor. There is a free public car park at Barcombe Mills with only a short portage to the river. It has a height barrier but you can get under it in a car with a canoe on the roof. There are also a couple of spaces on a side road for overheight vehicles.From there you can paddle upstream to the Anchor weir and portage round on river left (your right going upstream, the side opposite the pub).You can visit the pub if you like but they are a bit "up themselves" and treat paying customers with the same distain as prospective canoeists.I've not had a problem with fishermen. Compared to the incompetent noisy shenanigans of the hire boats, a passing proper canoeist is a minor inconvenience.

Paul Tofts
17 Jul 2017
Yesterday I wanted to launch my canoe from the Anchor car park, and eat there, and an apologetic member of staff said the owner would not let me. Nor could I carry canoe into field to the South and launch there. Unclear to me what rights the pub owner actually has. For example I could presumably take my boat on the public footpath and launch from the East bank, or from the public footpath downstream of the weir.

06 Jul 2017
We went this weekend and parked at the Anchor Inn with the intention of having a drink and some food afterwards. The landlord came out whilst we were in the car park and told us we weren't allowed to canoe from there.

Graham MacKenzie
30 May 2017
I went there at the weekend, and parked in the carpark with the intention of going to ask about launching the canoe as well as all four of us having lunch there. A youngish professional guy came out and said that it was not possible to launch there, not even if we were having lunch!

Keith Day
05 Aug 2015
You may encounter fishermen upstream of Barcombe Mills who dispute public navigation rights on the non tidal river. These rights were confirmed by statute in the Upper Ouse Navigation Act of 1790 which has not been repealed. The Environment Agency provide a canoe portage point on the nontidal river upstream of Barcombe Mills. See http//

28 Jul 2013
This week Simon the landlord was not happy with me bringing my own kayak. Things seem to be quite tight financially for him though even a small launch fee would have been acceptable to me to paddle alongside my friends who did hire boats from him. Maybe best to ring and negotiate something before showing up

Keith Day
11 Aug 2012
It seems the landlord at the Anchor is no longer the problem he once was and his stance against canoeing is no longer any sort of issue. Just canoe with consideration to other river users and landowners and enjoy your paddle.

David Silitoe
27 Jan 2009
Ownership of the Anchor Inn has recently changed. The new owner is very anti kayaking and does not take kindly to any private kayakers using his land for accessing the river. He also claims that the Anchor has negotiated sole navigation rights with the EA and so kayakers are now not even welcome in the river on the stretch from the Mills to the Fish ladder Falls (aka Sutton Hall weir).He belongs to the hunting shooting lobby.

Simon Marks
13 Jun 2008
The nontidal stretch of the river (i.e. above Barcombe Mills to the Anchor and up to Newick) is not very wide and quite heavily fished. The resident anglers can get very annoyed and are convinced that private canoeing is not permitted on the river. There are also comments about damage by canoists to the spawning grounds of migratory Sea Trout. In my view it is best to stick to the tidal stretch below Barcombe Mills (down river to Lewes and Newhaven) which is less heavily fished and where canoing is allowed.


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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson