Long Fords
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Bedfordshire: Clapham
TL033522 (5*) Restricted Access
Sent in by Peter Chesher (01/12/2004)

'In the Village of Clapham, Just opposite the junction for Green Lane, is a road called The Ford, its also located next to The Swan Public House. There are no restrictions in access to the Ford and once crossed it can be used as a route across the fields to Bromham. Tractors use it quite regularly.

The Ford is Concreted across, but in some places the river has washed it out causing a few dips so a good reccy on foot is recommended to avoid getting stuck. For this reason I wouldn’t recommend cars attempt it. In the summer time when the river is running low its about 2 Feet deep, and I’ve seen several 4x4’s cross with no problems. Winter time is a different matter, and the Ouse gains several feet easily and is very fast flowing.

I would estimate that the Ford is about 3-4 feet deep when I took the picture yesterday. At the same time yesterday, I would say the river would have to rise another 3 to 4ft to start flooding the road at nearby Felmersham or Radwell. So this Ford can become very deep and extremely dangerous.'


Buckinghamshire: Iver
TQ047810 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Paul Manners and Dave Taylor (27/01/2003)

'Situated in Ford Lane, an awesome ford only for the bravest 4x4! The crossing goes between two islands and I estimate it at 80 meters across. It is about 1.5 foot deep , very smooth gravel bottom, 50 yds wide easy entry and exit ramps. There is a footbridge upstream for those not brave enough to drive through. Fixed to a tree on one of the islands is a possibly unofficial “FLOOD” sign !! All this within 500 meters of the M25!'

Image 4 shows a textbook bow-wave by Graham Tabor

Iver Photogallery

County Durham: Stanhope
NY990391 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by John Brown (17/07/2002 & 06/01/2003) and John Page (01/06/2003) Image 1 mouseover sent in by Chris Marsh (20/07/2003)

'The old coach road to Barnard Castle left the market and mining town of Stanhope through a 50-yard ford across the rushing River Wear. Although the modern B6278 crosses a bridge half a mile upstream, the ford is still used by local traffic, and now has asphalt approaches, a setted bottom and stepping stones on the upstream side, which also regulate the water flow. It nevertheless remains a daunting prospect for the timid, especially if there's a strong spate and the water level is creeping up towards and beyond the tops of the stepping stones, which equates to about a foot depth at road level.

Since 1993, Stanhope Ford has been one of the notable hazards of LE JOG (the Land's End to John o'Groats Reliability Trial). The test here requires competitors to start from a line on the south shore, drive through the ford to stop astride a line on the north ramp, switch off and restart their engine, and drive a car's length forward to a second line. Time allowed for the whole operation: 30 seconds. Many do it!'

Ford & Stepping Stones

Press Release.

NOTE: Although barriers have been erected to prevent motorists from straying into the ford during adverse conditions (Image 4 Sent in by John Brown), the local council has now closed the ford permanently.

Cumbria: Appleby
NY687198 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (20/01/2003)

'Below the castle rock of Westmorland's elegant old county town, this giant of a ford takes the bold motorist across the River Eden. It's fully sixty paced yards across, and is well over a foot deep on the east side, where a made-up rocks and clay bottom can be seen from the Jubilee footbridge; further over, the bottom cannot be discerned. Not recommended for ordinary cars, a local assured me, even in summer. No signs.'

The east entry ramp is nice and smooth, but the west next to the castle is a very steep mud ramp with lare ruts, you'd never get a car up it. The river is about 2 1/2 foot deep in summer on the west side, but soon levels of to about 1 1/2 foot, gradually leading upto the east ramp. The river can soon become high with rain. If you can get past the deep part you'll be fine.' Simon Maltby

Denbighshire: Corwen
SJ058428 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Mark Wells (Images 1&2: 13/11/2003), Michael Enderby (Image 3: 28/06/2004) and Phil Taylor (13/04/2009)

'The first ford Nr Corwen, locally known as the 'carwash' is very popular with 4x4's, access is easy and the surface is firm with a few small rocks, a 4x4 with good wading ability is the important. There have been reports of barbed wire being placed in the water as you enter the ford, so worth having a good look before you cross. (Images 1 & 2)'

'The second ford is just downstream and quite similar, the finish is on a green lane but the start is on a standard C road.'

Derbyshire: Tissington
SK199521 (5*) Suitable for All

Tissington is a ford of sheer quality. On this visit, the depth gauge read half a foot. I watched as the National Park Ranger flew through creating a splash higher than his Defender and decided that I might give this one a miss for now. The splashdown lasts for around 7 car lengths, but a slightly rocky and uneven bottom means a nervous crossing for light vehicles at all but low flows. Well worth a visit! Trojan Mouseover sent in by John Brown, 'cow splash' by Peter Greenway, Image 3 from James Collins

'Tissington has recently be resurfaced but still spectacular but much smoother.'Chris Jerman

Devon: Ide
SX900906 (5*) Restricted Access
Sent in by John Brown (12/08/2002) 78m

'In the pretty village of Ide, on the edge of Exeter, a slipway beside the Huntsman Inn takes you into one of the longest fords in Britain - or it would if the Devon County Council hadn't spoilsportingly banned motorised traffic, so now it is one purely for the cyclists, web-footed or wellied pedestrians and equestrians - unless of course you are accessing a property further on. Anyone else can at least walk along the asphalted quayside.

The ford is the village street for a handsome row of cottages called The College, before turning a corner and becoming a country lane, ending after a full 105 paced yards. Not to be missed, especially as it is just one minute's drive from the A30 trunk road.'

Devon: Lopwell Tidal Ford
SX474650 (5*) Tidal
Sent in by John Brown (11/08/2003) 50m

'A splendid five-star wetroad in a beautiful setting. At low tide, the River Tavy flows across a ford that is 50m across and 3" deep; but at high tide the ford and its approaches are covered to a width of 95m (Image 1 & Image 1 mouseover). Do not attempt to cross the top of the adjacent weir!'

Devon: Payhembury
ST076020 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Tom Springs (06/04/2005)

'The ford is well worth a visit and careful checking before driving. Basically there is a T-junction of two tracks (Image 1), the tracks can be muddy and the entrances to the ford needs some good ground clearance. The ford is on the 'T' of the junction and to get to the other road you have to drive down the river.

There is a footpath around but many trees obscure most of the view of the river. The river is narrow and I anticipate very narrow in summer. The Photos were taken this winter from standing in the river. At the time of driving ( in a Defender) the river was about half a metre at its deepest (Image 2) and 10 cm at its shallowest. Riverbed conditions vary through the ford varying from the remains of an old paved road to sand banks and a sandy flat river bed. there are some rocks but the main problem will be overhanging branches and the entrance/exit. Ford is about 100m long with a rest/turning point half way. Carries a warning sign about dangers of ford crossing warning that it can reach 36inches.'

"I drove the Payhembury ford this week, or at least the main track through it that runs East-West and that is now seriously overgrown. It's particularly bad to the West of the river, the branches from both sides are touching in the middle & it's just like driving through a hedge. Paddy ?

'Long wheel base trucks such as Navaras or warriors will need to take care at the exit of the ford. The turning is fairly tight and may require a shunt or two.' Dave Ruddy

Dorset: Moreton
SY805896 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Graham Dance (Image 1: 07/06/2003) and David Holme (Image 2: 07/07/09)

'Image 1 taken from southern end, aprox. 60 yards wide. Fine gravel base, gated either side but they were open. 4x4 or boat only, looked a bit deep for a car. Unsure of usage, possible access to Snelling Farm but the OPRA through the forest to the north "goes" in a road car'

'Another point to note is the TE Lawrence’s grave is in the churchyard just by the ford' Peter Wells

Dorset: Throop
SZ118959 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Graham Dance (07/06/2003)

'Tarmac ORPA on the eastern side, grass track accross the floodplain to the west. Tributary of the River Stour with a footbridge on the southern side, aprox. 80 yards wide, looks fairly deep and has a loose gravel/sand bottom. Dodgy even in a 4x4.'

I have received complaints from the Hurn Estate that 4x4 drivers are passing through the ford across the tributary of the Stour near Throop and then attempting to go on further through the water meadows beyond the field gate. The UCR is "No Through Road" and no attempt should be made to continue any further beyond the field gate. The old ford further on at SZ115956 known as "Pig Shoot Ford" was dredged in the 1970's by the river authority as part of a flood alleviation schem and is now approx 10 feet deep! Need a submarine.

Essex: Little Baddow
TL759072 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Mike Carr (21/04/2003)

'The road meets the river at a bend and the ford continues through the river for approx 50 yards, before the river turns again and the road exits. Can be very deep when in flood - have seen it just below the railings in the photo!'

'This ford is in a 1975 film called "Expose" aka "Trauma" aka "The House on Straw Hill" starring Udo Kier and Linda Hayden (look on IMDB under filming locations). It is filmed in summer time (still quite deep) and they drive through it in a Rolls Royce!' Rick xxx

Gloucestershire: Blockley
SP162345 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Peter D. Smith (25/10/2004)

'This is a worthy rival to that other long ford of the Cotswolds, at Duntisbourne Abbots. It lies on the aptly named Brook Lane, which descends steeply from near the southern end of Blockley's main street. On reaching the brook the lane turns abruptly right (Image 1), then coincides with the watercourse upstream for about 75 yards (Image 2) before easing gently left out of the water towards a row of cottages (Image 3). The road continues upwards as a stone track manageable by an ordinary car, and bends leftwards, ultimately to join the principal road south out of Blockley. The base of the ford, which reaches up to about a foot at its deepest point, is the pebbly bed of the stream. There is a good ramp, of stones bound with concrete, at the southern end (Image 4). Erosion of some of the tarmac at the northern end has left a shelf of nearly 3 inches to negotiate. There is a stone footbridge at the northern end, and raised footpath beside the length of the ford. There is no depth gauge. The sign at each end of the road reads 'road used as a public path', with no mention of the ford. Vehicles involved in construction work at one of the cottages to the south of the ford have recently been seen using the ford. The OS cartographers appear to have overlooked the ford, despite the fact that the local post office sells postcards depicting it!'

Hampshire: Droxford
SU609185 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (15/07/2003) 183m

'The smooth gravel beds of Hampshire's famous shallow, crystal clear trout streams must have made excellent cartways, cheaply maintained by nature. Here the bed of the River Meon forms for 183 metres part of Mill Lane, which links Droxford to Brockbridge. It is best approached from the north end at SU609184, via Mill Lane from Brockbridge; there's more room to park without upsetting local residents.

The roadway drops down a ramp into the stream (Image 1), while the footway crosses a bridge which gives a good view down the length of the ford (Image 2). In summer, the river is otherwise mostly screened from the asphalt path by a jungle of tall nettles. Just below the bridge is a metric depth gauge with measurements from nominal river level (Image 3). The ramp shows little sign of vehicular traffic.

This stretch of river is shaded by trees (Images 4 & 5). If travelling down it, look out for the exit, shortly after the mill race (keep well to left past this), as it is overgrown and would be easy to overshoot. In Image 6 it is between the clumps of reeds in direct line with the "marker buoy" of a floating plastic container - but don't count on that being there! On the exit ramp itself, at the time of my visit there were motorcycle tyre marks in the mud (Image 7 , but little other evidence of regular use.'

'I'm aware that Mill lane, on your site as Hampshire: Droxford SU609185 has been blocked at the Southern end with two vertical railway sleepers, since the summer of 2007. Motorcycles can pass, but I understand 4x4's can not. Dave Tilbury of the Trail RIders Fellowship has been in continual correspondence with Hampshire County Council to have this illegal obstruction removed, but to date, this has not been achieved.' Russ McDermid

Hampshire: East Worldham
SU730383 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Dale Wyatt (26/01/2005)

'This one is about half a mile long, never measured it though and is on a rocky base throughout its length and deeply sunken. The real gem though is that you can still see old cartwheel marks worn into the rocky base!

The base of the lane is solid rock throughout this length. During winter months a smaller stream follows the course of the byway (Image 1) which increases the length of the ford.

The remaining two pictures show the bottom end where the main stream runs over the rocky bed.'

Hampshire: Warnborough
SU727519 (5*) Restricted Access
Sent in by David Wilson, Nick Woollett & Paul Manners (24/08/2006)

'The two Warnborough Fords are located less than 1 mile from J5 on the M3. The fords of similar depth and length, deep and long with a smooth gravelly bottom. Will always be a challenge because the water depth stays constant all year round. Now has a TRO, so no motor vehicle access is permitted.'

Herefordshire: Byford
SO399424 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Rob Loupart (22/07/05)

'An excellent ford with varying depth from 18" to about 4', so must be walked first to pick the best route. The current is quite strong even when shallow, my dog struggled swimming upstream! It is difficult to find and not signposted.

The north bank is approached down an 8' steep bank between a gap in the fence at SO401425, roughly halfway between a house and a farm. You then need to walk across to the southern bank and head upstream for about 100yards to the exit up a 6' steep bank to the UCR at SO398425. Both are quite overgrown in summer, so difficult to spot. You need to avoid the deeper parts of the river and some soft silty parts that cause the vehicles to bog.

The photos are taken from the northern bank looking upstream. The pic of the 110 coming towards you shows the depth, snorkels only! and pic 2 shows the 110 and a 2" lifted Disco near the south bank exit to the left. In winter the water is often 6' higher than shown here in July!'

Hertfordshire: Furneux Pelham
TL437287 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Nicholas Woollett (08/08/2002)

'We had been looking for what I remembered as a long, rough but not deep ford at Much Hadham and asked for directions in the village. A helpful mechanic said he recognized the description as being the ford "for Land Rovers" at Violets Lane, Stocking Pelham. We drove up to Stocking Pelham turning left at the Cock P.H (167 453292) and found the sign "Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles - Ford" at 441299 where we turned left (Image 1).

This part of the route was surfaced until we got to the point a point in Brent Pelham where you will see behind bushes an "Unsuitable..." sign. The track itself looked as if it had been recently made up with gravel. We continued down the smooth track pictured above, before arriving at a bend in the track/ford/stream (Image 2)

It was impossible to guess the depth of water in front of the car at this point or any other useful data and did not have wellies so we were not able to walk along the outside to see further so we reluctantly reversed back several hundred yards turned round and went back to civilization where we found this sign in Brent Pelham itself at TL435306 (Image 3).'

Account sent in by Chris Jones:
'I have to say that the photos on your site, and description, don't really do it justice after a rainy spell! I wish I'd had my camera with me to take some photos, but it was "much" wetter today. To give you an idea of how wet, the road was underwater all the way from the 'Y' junction at the northern end to the point at the southern end where the river diverts away from the road, a distance of nearly 1km. The depth varied from about 6" at the northern end to about 2 feet (not quite enough to cover a bicycle wheel) further south. Really very impressive, and great fun!'

youtube video Sent in by Steve Nicklin

Hertfordshire: Standon
TL392220 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Nicholas Woollett (08/08/2002) and Brian Donaldson (Image 5: 15/11/2010)

'Please do not confuse these shots with canal holiday brochures. The weather was poor and the water had a kind of ghostly mist rising from it at approx 4.30 pm yesterday.

I can clearly remember crewing on a rally with student friends from Chelsea College in the late sixties. It rained all night and we went through ford after ford. I also remember going through one ford with water sloshing through the car and seeing dimly out of the side window a brick wall. This must have been the one because through the undergrowth the river is contained within a channel of brick walls. Last year the water was very clear and I could see minnows swimming around in the shallows.

Seriously folks this is 4 x 4 country until I can conquer it in the Dellow with assistance on hand and prove otherwise. From memory,(12 months ago) the bottom is smooth and sandy.'
Image mouseover sent in by Andy Collins (18/06/2004)

Image 4 and additional details sent in by Andrew Young (13/08/2004)
“I have been to this ford on a few occasions now – the first time was in February 2004 – I would not recommended attempting this ford after heavy rains without a snorkel as the water can be very high. The last time I drove it was in June 2004 – although deep the ford was much less scary. It is wet all year as it is part of the river Rib. There is nearly always an audience and the ford is fun – recommend that it is taken at a sensible speed and not on a “hell for leather” approach.

It has a nice easy approach from either end – with a gentle slope. I highly recommend a quick walk along the bank to survey the river bed – water is normal lovely and clear – as the river has caused very deep patches near the footpath. You wouldn’t want to drop in one of those unintentionally. Stick near to the trees and the water remains about 2 feet or so deep – in the summer.

The ford itself is quite long and well worth a visit.”

Helpful advice sent in by Paul Manners
'The trick is to keep all the way to the right going south or left going north ( under the trees ) if this is done the water os 1.5 foot deep if you go the other side then 2.5 foot deep smooth gravel bottom 60 yds long.
The ford feels abandoned at the moment and is totally blocked by a fallen tree.'

Highlands & Islands: Doll
NC871045 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (Image 1: 25/08/2002), Dave Cooper (Image 2: 12/07/2013) and Anon. (Image 3: 14/08/2018)

'Superb big ford, comparable with Tarr Steps or Stanhope, but more daunting than either when the peaty brown Brora River is in rushing spate. About 25 yards across, and around 6" deep in its most benign mood; paved bottom, asphalt approach roads either side. I have been there possible six or seven times, and only on two occasions have I dared take my road car across. One of the great fords. (Image 1 & mouseover in flood, Image 2 sent in by John Mackenzie, 01/08/2005 shows the fantastic new footbridge installed, Image 3 shows the ford in great condition)'

Sent in by John Page (11/02/2003)
'Did track down another ford I had heard of in the area though where a Burn and the road go under the same narrow railway bridge. Normally there would only be a couple of inches of water but as you can see form the photos and video there was over a foot of water going through. The stream runs over a 5ft waterfall about 10 feet after coming through the bridge. With it being very narrow there is a risk in the current of bouncing off the bridge. There is also a ledge/footpath under the bridge with a handrail (Image 4).'

Kent: Eynsford
TQ540655 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Ian Bowman (Images 1 & 2: 14/05/2002), Xavier Gosselin (Image 3: 28/02/2004) and Simon Holland (Image 4: 15/02/2006)

'Take care with this one, the depth gauge reads significantly lower then it actually is!' Image 1 mouseover and video sent in by Colin Leonard (07/11/2004)

Video Footage

Image 5 sent in by Adrian Bailey showing Eynsford circa. 1960

Image 6 sent in by Jim Deadman showing Eynsford circa. 1960

Lancashire: Garstang
SD498462 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (20/01/2003)

'This must be a contender for the most fearsome monster officially designated as a ford. I approached from the northern end of Garstang town down the obscure Wyre Lane. I soon saw the high footbridge, and then a muddy but clearly well used track dropping down into the 40ft wide and fast flowing River Wyre. (Image 1)

But there was no sign of an exit ramp, so I abandoned ship and went on foot in search of it. From the bridge, there was still no clear indication in either direction...(Image 2 Mouseover sent in by Ken Wales, 05/02/2006)

... so I followed the footpath downstream, pacing out about 120yds until I came to another muddy but still well used ramp (Image 3: it's about 10yds this side of the white sign visible in the view from the bridge)

Although I was in a high 4x4 that is well used to fording South American rivers, I'm afraid that, being on my own, I chickened out of this one! Later, on the eastern approach, I came across this old sign - good Lancashire understatement! (Image 4)'

Account sent in by Dave Bamber
'I gave it a go as we have had very little rain recently and river levels are low. I started on the opposite side to Garstang after a quick recce on foot, from the bank and over the footbridge. I estimated the depth at my start point to be about 7 inchs, once past this, the river bed is exposed and just damp. I headed for the left bank, Garstang side, as it seemed the shallower option, well shallower but still about 8-9 inchs. I didn't stop to measure! I turned round and had and other go, and then another! The last run scared me as I stayed more in the centre of the river at the Garstang exit and it went a bit deep, like up to the wheel centre of my Land Rover (13inchs!!) I got through ok though and lived to tell the tail. I wouldn't recommend doing this one with much more water and a stronger current, or a snorkel.'

'On the Garstang side of the ford there is a safety line painted on the foot bridge foundation, allthough I have been through the ford with water well over the top of my wheels, (Frontera) I would not recomend it, I have seen this river in very wet weather eith the water level at the top of the entrance ramp!!!' Pete ?

'Don't approach the garstang exit from downstream but at 90 degrees from the river centre, the water came up onto the windscreen.' Ken Wales

'If you enter from the Garstang side keep right next to the bank, don't be tempted to aim for the middle shale island, drive down until you are level with the shale island then turn left on to it, stop for some pics then continue down the centre of the river, and drive slightly past the exit then turn sharp left to go up the exit. I have found this method ok for standard 4x4s as long as the water doesn't cover the rough concrete foundations of the bridge pillars. Jonathan McKeown

Finally, Image 5 shows Paul Manners testing the depth.

Lancashire: Morecambe Bay Old Coach Road
SD455675 (5*) Tidal
Sent in by John Brown

'The longest road of its kind is the old coach road across Morecambe Bay (also shown on the OS 1:50k as a BOAT - how appropriate - from 97/SD 469669 to 397756; a distance of 12.1 km). Where of course you are at considerably greater risk from the incoming tide: it comes in fast (because of the much greater distance between high and low tide marks), and you are a long way from land. The OS map has a warning "Public Rights of Way across Morecambe Bay can be Dangerous - seek local guidance"!!'

'The road can be best reached, not from the level crossing by Hest Bank station as the OS map suggests, but along the yellow road to Morecambe Lodge. Effectively the road starts at SD470674. A shale track leads to the high tide mark and thus to the sands beyond, from which all wheelmarks are obliterated at each tide. Signs warn against going on to the sands with vehicles or on foot, and the local council in fact prohibits taking vehicles there.'

Image 1 shows the view from the Kents Bank station.

'I had the extreme pleasure of following the majority of the eastern section of the crossing a couple of weeks ago:

The crossing is historically in 2 sections; 1. Ulverston to Cark (then over-land until) 2. Kent Bank to Hest Bank (longest of the 2 sections) I entered a half-marathon that actually traversed the Bay from Flookburgh to Hest Bank: (Cross Bay Run).

It was a weird sensation out there, even though we were 'waymarked' (& 'shepherded') by the local Bay-Guides (fishermen, & also TRUSTED individuals). The Kent Channel was a real challenge, over 400 yards wide & 'crotch-deep'!!!! The Keer Channel was only about 100 yards & knee-deep. I doubt I'd like to drive anything across the Bay that was my own!!' Richard Thackeray

Turner Painting

Lancashire: Noyna
SD906417 (5*) Suitable for All

An interesting example of where the stream bed becomes the road (see also Great Moor in Staffordshire). The sign said the ford was half a mile long, but a quick trip down the ford quickly dispels that! Noyna has a very 'Lancashire Moorland' feel to it and would probably be shrouded in hill fog in the winter months! The ford looks more like a bridleway than a road and is quite an intimidating prospect. Image 3 shows an old BMW parked in the ford (sent in by Chris Marsh 14/04/2003)

Lincolnshire: Little Cawthorpe
TF358840 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Rod Souter (01/06/2003)

'A fascinating ford ensemble, in theory two fords but really just one. As Image 1 shows the ford at first glance looks like a short shallow crossing. However, what isn't instantly apperent is that you can turn upstream and follow the river bed for at least 300 feet! 'It starts shallow, but gets deeper near the end as the bottom changes from gravel to sand.' Image mouseovers sent in by Simon & Debbie Wilson (24/01/2005)

Norfolk: Shereford
TF892302 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Alan Cook and Chris Marsh (14/04/2003)

'Providing that you stay to the right of the post with reference to this view, the ford is a maximum of 8 inches deep. However, to the left of the post, the ford is about 4 feet deep at its maximum. We saw a land rover with snorkel exhaust and cardboard radiator protector drive successfully through the deep part. There is also a very pleasent pub adjacent to the ford!'

Detailed info and Image 3 from Kay Rouse (23/09/2009) 'There are signs on both sides of the A148 ‘Sculthorpe Mill – Unbridged ford’ initially a bit deceptive in summer shrubbery as the Mill and ford are to the south side of the road away from Sculthorpe village (so this is our north to south crossing) As you turn into the good tarmac access road you see a dead end sign – ignore this, it’s a particularly big fib.

18th century Sculthorpe Mill was obviously once huge and busy but is now a rather nice pub and hotel – Green King, lunches & evening meals: There’s a large car park to your right and outside the pub a very convenient (or embarrassing?) viewing terrace/bridge beyond overlooking the ford.

Entrance to the ford is to the left beyond Mill Ford House - nice lady very apologetic about car parked adjacent and offered excellent crossing advice: DO NOT aim straight for the exit slope diagonally but cross immediately ahead then turn sharp right, hugging the opposite river bank before turning left onto exit ramp. There is a deep hole made by the grain wagons and since scoured further by the river in the centre on the direct line across – this claims at least a couple of cars a year, much to the amusement of the pub terrace audience…

Gravelly mud ramps, good firm gravel river bed (except for odd rock washed into the large hole) and really shallow, though still fast flowing, after a prolonged dry period when we visited at end August 2009. This is the River Wensum rather than a stream though – apparently it gets very much deeper and does flash flood. You can make it all on tarmac by following the hardtop road out - first bear right alongside the river then left at a staggered cross-roads near Shereford to come out onto the busy A1065 near Hempton south of Fakenham.

However, as off roaders you could have very much more fun: After exiting on the ford south side and beginning to follow the hardtop road, look for an unmade lane on the left and take this instead. This lane runs pretty much parallel to the hardtop one: it’s almost certainly part of the Mill’s original one way system so that arriving and departing wagons did not have to meet and need to edge past each other on the same road (you can just about make out a similar, now blocked system on the north side) It also exits onto the A1065 within a few metres to the north of the tarmac alternative. The unmade lane does get progressively overgrown – centrally and at the sides - but is not hugely rutted, there are no barriers, blockages or prohibitions, locals say it is still a right of way.

For more info also see here

North Yorkshire: Boggle Hole
NZ949038 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Chris Marsh (Images 1-3: 19/03/2003) and Gary Coles (Image 4: 16/10/2011) with details by Tim Greenwood

'I have used the ford at Boggle Hole a couple of times and often thought it must be interesting when in flood in winter. From memory I would guess it at around 100 metres in length as you enter and exit from different points on either bank of the river. There is no attempt at constructing a road surface, you simply drive along the river bed. It is not deep or rough in summer and as the photo's show it is easily negotiable in a standard car. There are steep roads leading down to it in both directions and these surface whilst tarmac are quite broken up. Please note that the access roads are a byway I believe, and as at one end it runs through a farmyard then please close the gates.'

North Yorkshire: Lowdales
SE954914 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Chris Jones (13/01/2004)

'Fully tarmaced, but at least 300m long. Lowdales Beck joins the road for a while. I suspect it's just a trickle in the gutter in dry weather, but after some snowfall it was a couple of inches deep all the way. There are also several (private or bridleway) crossings of the beck on the access to Lowdales Farm at the northern end.'

North Yorkshire: Ruswarp
NZ890093 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Jonathan Gurney (05/04/2005)

'A long shallow ford (about 300m long and mainly 3 - 5 cm deep) which provides rear access to a row of houses and leads to a private access track. It is unusual in that it has several exits: as well as the two ends (Images 1 & 4) several houses have rear garden parking accessed along the ford (e.g. Image 3). It also has a pedestrian sub-ford (Image 2) where a private footpath crosses the long ford. Most of the surface is firm gravel apart from a short section of concrete at the Western end. It is not clear whether there is an public right of access along the ford, but in practice local people use it without apparent restriction. It seems popular with dog-walkers in wellies (one way of avoiding poop-scoops ?) and children on bikes. The West end is at a junction with the village main street and at the East end the ford leads to a trackway giving access to two houses about 1km further away.'

Northumberland: Warkworth
NU236049 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by John Brown (Images 1 & 2: 15/05/2003)

'Built atop a weir, this wonderful ford, in an attractive setting close to a handsome little town with a magnificent castle, provides a smooth but exciting passage for bold drivers of ordinary cars through about four inches of water for some 50yd. Signs, and a footbridge about 50yd away to the west.'

'I was in Northumberland a few weeks ago, staying not very far away from the Warkworth ford. However when I visited (by cycle) it was clearly impassible with the river being in spate (Image 3). The nearby footbridge was impassible too (Image 4).' Rob Weeks (18/09/2009)

Perth & Kinross: Blair Atholl
NN870650 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Page (12/02/2003)

'Only for the experienced - When I watched a friend do it there was over 2 foot of water in the deep part. NB track at other side is 4x4 only.'

Scottish Borders: Abbey St Bathans (x2!)

NT763619 (5*) Irish Bridge
NT763617 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Graham Tabor, Andrew JD Smith (Images 1 and 3: 04/11/2004) and Ronald Dempster (Image 2: 23/12/2018)

'The first ford is a concrete bottom ford that is suitable for all. However, just a bit further downstream is a much bigger ford. This is a proper river crossing and is about ten or twelve car lengths long. At certain times of the year it can be bonnet deep on a 4x4, definitely one for the more adventurous 4x4 driver.'

Somerset: Bilbrook
ST032412 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by John Brown (Images 1 to 3: 12/08/2002) and Martin Ruchay (30/05/2018) 66m

'As you leave the nearby A39, you are warned of a low bridge ahead, but well before you reach it you are faced with this monster ford, curving away round the bend. In fact, it has a relatively shallow and not too rough stony gravel bottom, although there are some deeper troughs. The measured length is 66m, which makes it perhaps the third longest in Somerset. A good asphalt sidewalk on a retaining wall enables the more timid fordie to explore it in safety.'

'The second ford is on the green lane and the whole way is a ford because water from the fields tries to find its way towards the described fort. This wet way is roughly 100m long and slightly muddy but with firm gravel base. After passing the railroad viaduct, you will find the actual ford. After that the way continues as public footpath but there is enough space for a car to reverse.' (Image 4)

Somerset: Bonson
ST225409 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Ian Barnard and Richard Frith (12/04/2006)

'Follow the RUPP from Bonson west towards Fiddington. This is a real beauty, which follows a car-width pebbly stream bed for a full 200m before emerging onto a rough stony lane. There's no path alongside the water and you can't see the exit before you commit yourself, so a leap of faith is required on entry. It's about a foot deep in dry weather with no particularly deep spots and just the occasional larger rock to avoid, but you can see the bottom all the way through. Watch out for horses at the riding stables at the far end.'

Somerset: Ilton
ST362180 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Tim Chambers (08/03/2005)

'I have been through it in a Fiat 127 some years ago but I'm not too sure how deep it is these days. (Images 1-3)

On the same steam there is also an Irish Bridge.'

'It's current condition is still drivable in a 4x4. From the east it now has a steep rutted in ramp but is sloped on exit at west end. From east to west it starts about 3-4 inches and I would say gets to about 18 inches. Fairly smooth all the way through.' John Leatt Image 2 mouseover sent in by John Leatt (20/02/2012)

Somerset: Poleshill
ST085225 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (12/08/2002)

'The aptly named Watery Lane is probably, at 120 paced yards, the second longest ford in Somerset, and one of the most daunting, especially if the water level is up a bit. Even in summer, the holes and rocks in the gravel surface will deter many car drivers, as will the steep east ramp whose paved surface is breaking up. Ford and Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles signs; a footpath runs through the field alongside, with a small footbridge at the west end. One for the connoisseur.'

Somerset: Tarr Steps
SS867321 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Nick Woollett (Image 1: 17/07/2002)

The first image shows Nick making a successful attempt at the ford in his Dellow which is father failed to navigate 43 years previously in an Austin A55.

Image2 sent in by David Goode (08/01/2003)
'The second image was taken when the water level was very high, almost level with the deck of the clapper bridge, and the current very strong. The tractor in the picture was carrying sheep in a crate across the river - midway across the sheep were standing in a couple of inches of water.'

Image 3 shows a conflict of interests sent in by Will Bowden (08/03/2003) and Image 4 by Geoff McGladdery (26/09/2005)

Finally, Image 5 shows the more modest ford just around the corner (Sent in by John Walton: 18/05/2012)

Somerset: Wookey
ST505463 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by John Brown (12/08/2002)

'This splendid concrete-bottomed ford runs for 40 paced yards along a stream bed. About 4 inches deep, with signs and a footway/footbridge alongside.' (Images 1 and 2)

'Next, possibly one of the longest true fords in Britain (excluding tidal roads and the like)? The local who directed me to it thought so. The sign at Wookey village warns that it is 100 yards long (and unsuitable for motor vehicles), but I paced it at 135. (Images 3 and 4)

The road either side is good asphalt (one wonders why the Council maintains it - but be thankful), and there's a stoned pathway alongside, atop a retaining wall. It is on average about 12" deep, with deeper holes and troughs - especially on the western end, as well as some nasty rocks. Not for the faint hearted!'

Staffordshire: Butterton
SK075562 (5*) Suitable for All
Images sent in by Mark Goodge (23/11/2006)

Butterton is quite possibly the most unusual ford I have come across. Essentially, it is a ford made up of several fords, some part-time, some full time. My visit was hampered by construction work in the village which meant that I had to drive down a closed road and avoid several builders and JCB's to get these images. As you approach the ford from the south (after a steep descent), the first impression you get is of a couple of cobble-bottomed part-time fords in quick succession. (Image 1)

However, this is just a taster and as you round the corner you join the stream bed for about 5 car lengths (Image 2). If all the fords are active, the result would be a ford of around 12-15 car lengths. In summary, Butterton is a fascinating village ford which is well worth a visit!

The Image 1 mouseover shows Butterton in full flow. Sent in by Al Hinks (24/11/2002)

Staffordshire: Great Moor
SO836980 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!

Great Moor is an exceptionally unusual ford for many different reasons. However, its main feature is the fact that it is 300 metres long which is something of a record in this guide. I have encountered a few fords where the road acts as a streambed for some distance, but at Great Moor the streambed is actually the road! The sign says that the ford is unsuitable for motors, but with care there is nothing to troublesome - judge for yourself when you get there. The dodgiest section is on the Great Moor side of the ford where a sizeable descent into the ford is encountered, after that it is basically a gravelly track where the water rarely exceeds an inch or two in depth. Great Moor also forms part of the annual 'Tough Guy' 9 mile assault course, where competitors are forced to wade up the deep January flows. Definitely worth a visit! Image 2 mouseover sent in by Gary Cooper (24/10/2004)

Suffolk: Debenham
TM162635 (5*) Suitable for All
Sent in by Tony Hutt (April 2001)

Two outstanding fords in Debenham, the second of which claims to be the longest in the UK (Images 2,3,4). It is going to be close, but it will be either here or Furneux Pelham. www.debenham.co.uk
Additional info from Michael Roots
'Priory Lane was a disappointing bare trickle of water on my visit. For the long ford, the road from Debenham is signposted "No through road". Ford is tarred for its whole length, which is about half a mile. Only an inch or two of water in it. There is a road that joins the ford about half way along. One or two large bumps at end of ford away from Debenham.'

Warwickshire: Great Alne
SP131594 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
(Images 1 & 2: 19/07/2002)

This ford is a little hidden away on a road which is fast becoming into disrepair. Despite resembling a track, the road has proper signs warning of the ford and of a weak bridge just after it. The bridge can only take seven tonnes - but it was enough of a challenge to get my old Saxo over it! Viewed from the Great Alne side, the ford looks quite shallow with a gravelly bottom as it disappears into the distance. (Image 1)

However, when viewed from the other side, things look a bit more deep and menacing! Unfortunately, there is no footbridge for a full evaluation. (Image 2)

Images and account sent in by Colin Foster (04/01/2004)
'The water was not too deep, maximum about 2.5ft. Ford is relatively easy to drive and the bottom is fairly firm and falt apart from one hollow. This hollow is about 10m into the ford from the Great Alne end and towards the left hand side of the lane. The left wheel will fall down into this which was enough for the water to rise to the top of my left wing but it doesn't really cause any problems for a 4x4 to drive over but was a bit of a surprise. (Images 3 & 4)'

'I cycled through the ford at Great Alne as had viewed it in the car and thought otherwise. The ford is approximately 80 to 90m long with a variable depth and surface. The depth varies between a couple of inches to 1.5ish feet at a couple of places. The surface is mainly gravel however there are some larger rocks present. This would be possible in a Land Rover without any hassle and possibly a diesel car if insane enough to try.' Stephen Nicholls

'Snorkel a must and the hole just as you go in has got very deep. The strength of the flow across where you have to drive can be quite strong. I felt the vehicle go light at one point. Its also falling into disrepair quickly and road tyres are not in my opinion suitable anymore. Good all terrains at the very least are a must.' Fesuvious

'Danger! The depth Marker is Partially hidden by Vegetation. The Depth at GROUND LEVEL when the water touches the Marker is 2ft Deep at the Entrance not 1ft as Previously stated and not 0 feet as all the other Markers!!!!' Steven Mason

'Great Alne now sports signs that say "Ford, impassable at all times" - obviously an oxymoron!" Rob Gullen

'The "Ford impassable at all times" Signs are still there BUT the Ford has had some work done to it. It has been Dug Wider than before and the bed has been levelled off. It's a lot smoother now and there's no drop off to the outside of the Island.' Funtera

Image 5 shows Dave Horton bouncing out (10/12/2011)

Warwickshire: Little Lawford
SP468771 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!

According to the sign when approaching from Long Lawford, this one is 'unsuitable for light vehicles' and I certainly didn't fancy it in my old Saxo. The River Avon has quite a strong flow and I couldn't see the exit point let alone the bottom!

Account sent in by Simon Edginton:
'This is a great ford generally used by farm machinery, we ford it in our Discovery. The basic route is a slight right and then a long curve left to avoid the deep holes, to the exit ramp which has an almighty bump just as you get on to it. Normally the water level is as high as the bump strip on the Discovery but during bad weather can be 3 times + deep and very fast flowing! In bad weather we stay away as we do not have a snorkel fitted!!!'

Images and account sent in by Colin Foster (16/12/2003):
'Image 2 is taken from the far side having already crossed once. I crossed last Saturday and as you can see the water is pretty deep! Just as you round the corner to the left after entering is the deepest spot. I made it across in my waterproofed petrol Land Rover four times, but stopped on the fifth attempt and had to wade back to dry land to fetch an extra tow rope – it took a 15m and 8m rope to reach me. I stopped at about the midpoint just after the left bend. I estimate this was just before the deepest part and it was waist hight when I stood up – just over 3ft enough to cover the bottom of the pedals and the transmission tunnel and reach the base of the gear lever. The bottom was very smooth and a fine gravel apart from the bump onto the exit ramp – I know because I walked it! Best attempted in a diesel 4x4 preferably with a snorkel – was definitely risky in a petrol even with electrics well waterproofed and driven steadily with a good bow wave – Never the less after a bit of WD-40 and a check for water in the engine she started 1st time and drove home no probs but had I had a more luxurious motor there would have been a lot of wet carpet and seats!'

Image 3 was sent in by Mark Weller (24/07/07) who estimated the depth of teh ford during the floods of Summer 2007 to be in excess of 10 feet.

Warwickshire: Packington
SP217851 (5*) Restricted Access

I do not wimp out at crossing fords but this one (which I visited at low levels) was just too risky without a 4x4! Packington is one of those rare fords where the road joins the river bed, which in this case is for around 75 metres! As the images show below, you would not guess in mid splash-down that you were in a ford! As you can see from the images it does just look like a river! This one is well worth a visit, but don't just plough into it. I definitely won't be taking responsibility.....

Account sent in by Stephen Nicholls:
'I had previously looked at it in the car and promptly turned around. This time I went on my bike as I thought it may be a safer bet. Just prior to beginning the crossing a 4x4 pickup decided to cross. I watched in a amazement as the water got deeper and deeper until the sills of the pick up were well covered. It made it through but was impressive to say the least. We decided to do it on our bikes mine was more of intrigue to see how deep it was and what the base of the ford was like. From both sides the water becomes deep within 10m. The depth remains constant for the remainder. It is just over two feet deep after dry weather as the wheels on my bike were almost totally submerged. The base of the ford is basically gravelly with pebbles etc. through out its duration. If I ever get chance I'm sure I will revisit in a Land Rover.'

At last someone had a go! Check out the mouseovers on Images 2 and 3. Sent in by Peter Greenway (10/03/2003) Gaz gets wet!


West Sussex: Bosham Tidal Village
SU805038 (5*) Tidal
Sent in by John Brown (09/09/2002)

'We had a super day at Bosham yesterday. The weather was lovely, and we arrived about two hours before one of the highest tides of the year - perfect timing. We had lunch on the terrace of the Anchor Bleu as the tide reached its zenith or apogee or whatever tides have.'

'The name of the street that runs all the way round the harbour, from Bosham Quay at SU803038 to SU801031, is Shore Road. Five separate sections of this are tidal, at least at the 5m-plus high tides like the one on Sunday, 8 September 2002. These are: (i) from SU803038 to SU810038; (ii) from SU810037 to SU807037; (iii) from SU806036 to SU805034; (iv) from SU805032 to SU804032; and (v) from SU801032 to SU801031.

'The first view (Image 1) is looking west from the foot of Bosham Lane (Run your mouse over or off the image to make the tide come in or out!) Next, the view looking at the east end of the north shore (Image 2). Image 3 is the view eastwards along section ii. Image 4 is looking westwards along section iii. Image 5 is looking westwards along section iv. Image 6 is looking south-west along section v. Image 7 is looking from the far end of Shore Road back across the bay to Bosham village. There are no mouseovers for the last thee images.'

Images 8 and 9 are of the highest tide of the year at Bosham. Finally, Image 10 shows them bringing in the potato harvest at high tide and were all sent in by David Wilson.


Wiltshire: Lacock
ST916686 (5*) Restricted Access
Sent in by Andrew C. Westall (19/11/2002)

'A fantastic gravel bottomed ford (cobbled access) about 50m long, complete with packhorse bridge. Deepens about a third of the way in as the two rivers merge. There is also a waterfall on exit. Please note that the ford is restricted to residents.'


Wiltshire: Winterbourne Dauntsey
SU174349 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Kevin Foster (01/12/2002) Mouseover sent in by Russ Beck (21/05/2003)

'Located just off the A338, a very attractive and impressive ford, sign posted 'unsuitable for light vehicles most of the time'. The NW side has a concrete ramp lead in, with an abrupt very solid step at the end of the ramp of similar dimension to a standard pavement curb. After the step the surface is the pebbles of the river bed. A steep pebbly exit ramp awaits on the SE side, which requires some momentum to ascend. Recommend driving from NW to SE to avoid damage on the step. (Image 1 scanned from 'Total Off Road magazine).'

'Inspected on 1 Dec 2002, with the river in full spate. Depth approximately 3 feet on this occasion according to the depth gauge and confirmed by driving in from the SE to gauge the surface and depth. Current too strong in the middle to drive on this occasion, even in a 4x4.' (Images 2 and 3)

Wiltshire: Winterbourne Earls
SU170343 (5*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Kevin Foster (01/12/2002)

'Located just of the A338 is this serious ford, signposted 'unsuitable for motor vehicles'. The picture of the Suburu was taken after a very dry period (scanned from 'Total Off Road' magazine) shows this to be pretty deep ford. The ford surface appears to be river bed pebbles from the summer photo, and about 1.5 feet deep in the summer (close to the SE exit).'

'Inspected on 1 Dec 2002, with the river in full spate. We did not even reach the normal start of the ford in our 4x4 as the road was flooded on either side. The tide marks visible on our Land Rover in the winter photo indicate that on this occasion the ford would have been about 5 feet deep in the middle!!. We weren't willing to risk it as a solo vehicle, and the water was very cold according to our very wet feet!'

Worcestershire: Offenham
SP065471 (5*) Restricted Access

Summary by John Brown:
'Close to the Fish and Anchor inn, this monster ford crosses Shakespeare's Avon across the top of a weir. Across the ford you can discern an angler standing shin-deep in about a foot of water; I would guess that, just after one of the sunniest Junes on record, this is about as low as it gets short of full-bore drought. A local told me that farm vehicles do use it, but I did not have my 4x4 with me, so did not attempt a crossing, and would have some trepidation about doing so given the force of the current here. An ordinary car, taking the full pressure on its flank, would have no chance.

The only undisputed right of way through the ford is a public footpath (for those ramblers bold and well equipped enough to tackle it). On the north side, a padlock and chain blocks the way to vehicles (Image 3) and a notice erected by the Upper Avon Navigation Trust (Image 4) proclaims that the way beyond is purely a public footpath. Worcestershire County Council confirm that this is their official position at the moment, but they are currently looking at the strong body of evidence that this was a public road in days gone by (and thus may still be). This includes the facts that it was shown as a yellow road on the 1946 edition of the OS one-inch map (Image 5) and a metalled road on the 1919 edition (Image 6); that the road to the river from Harvington is still called Anchor Lane, suggesting that it was the lane to this crossing and the pub beyond; and that the crossing itself is still shown on highway signposts as the Fish and Anchor Crossing. The first edition of the OS one-inch map, published 1831, shows a ferry here (Image 7); the pub is already named as the Fish and Anchor. The north bank is accessible by car, and used by anglers, although not open to other users. Meanwhile, the pub licensee is planning to erect a footbridge across the river to give access to the pub for fishermen and for boaters tying up at the moorings in the navigation lock channel beyond the river.'

Info from Matthew Evans
I have fished at this ford on numerous occassions and not only have I walked it my self (very nice smooth concrete walkway, bit slippery under foot. Definately waders or barefoot, too deep for wellies! - usually 12-18" deep) I have also over the years seen a number of vehicles use it. Usually 4x4s or tractors, I did however see, in one drought year, a mini full of teenagers go across! Vehicles crossing need to bare in mind that when crossing the river there is a very steep-sided bridge over the lock cut, where you can if not careful, ground the front or rear of your vehicle.'

"Maybe irrelevant,but the square holes on the edge of the weir at Offenham are the remains of WW2 river defences built by the home guard for a gun platform." Adrian Wilkes

'Another piece of information that you may be interested in regarding Offenham ford at the Fish and Anchor and whether it was ever a right of way for vehicles, is a comment by Edmund New in his book of Evesham published in 1904. He describes it "a new ford calculated rather for the convenience of vehicles than of boating parties" (in the section titled "The River") I doubt we'll ever get public vehicular access across it again, but it does seem pretty clear that it was intended for vehicles when constructed!' Mark Goodge

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