River Trent
Overview
 
The River Trent is one of the major rivers of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Its source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

  is in Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

 on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor
Biddulph Moor
Biddulph Moor is a large village located on the hill which bears the same name. It is in Biddulph parish and is a part of the Staffordshire Moorlands district in England. It is very similar to Mow Cop which is located on the other side of the valley of Biddulph...

. It flows through the Midlands
English Midlands
The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

 (forming a once significant boundary between the north and south of England) until it joins the River Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

 at Trent Falls
Trent Falls
Trent Falls is the name of the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Trent which forms the Humber in Yorkshire, England.Despite a training wall and a mini-lighthouse called 'Apex Light', navigation at Trent Falls is not simple...

 to form the Humber Estuary
Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

, which empties into the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 below Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

 and Immingham
Immingham
Immingham is a town in North East Lincolnshire, located on the south bank of the Humber Estuary...

.

The Trent is unusual amongst English rivers in that it flows north (for the second half of its route), and in exhibiting a tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

, the "Trent Aegir
Trent Aegir
The Trent Aegir is a tidal bore on the River Trent in England. At certain times of the year, the lower tidal reaches of the Trent experience a moderately large bore . It takes its name from Ægir, the Norse god of the ocean....

".
Encyclopedia
The River Trent is one of the major rivers of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Its source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

  is in Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

 on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor
Biddulph Moor
Biddulph Moor is a large village located on the hill which bears the same name. It is in Biddulph parish and is a part of the Staffordshire Moorlands district in England. It is very similar to Mow Cop which is located on the other side of the valley of Biddulph...

. It flows through the Midlands
English Midlands
The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

 (forming a once significant boundary between the north and south of England) until it joins the River Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

 at Trent Falls
Trent Falls
Trent Falls is the name of the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Trent which forms the Humber in Yorkshire, England.Despite a training wall and a mini-lighthouse called 'Apex Light', navigation at Trent Falls is not simple...

 to form the Humber Estuary
Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

, which empties into the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 below Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

 and Immingham
Immingham
Immingham is a town in North East Lincolnshire, located on the south bank of the Humber Estuary...

.

The Trent is unusual amongst English rivers in that it flows north (for the second half of its route), and in exhibiting a tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

, the "Trent Aegir
Trent Aegir
The Trent Aegir is a tidal bore on the River Trent in England. At certain times of the year, the lower tidal reaches of the Trent experience a moderately large bore . It takes its name from Ægir, the Norse god of the ocean....

". The area drained by the river includes most of the northern Midlands.

Name

The name "Trent" comes from a Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 word possibly meaning "strongly flooding". More specifically, the name may be a contraction of two Celtic words, tros ("over") and hynt ("way"). This may indeed indicate a river that is prone to flooding. However, a more likely explanation may be that it was considered to be a river that could be crossed principally by means of ford
Ford (crossing)
A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or in a vehicle. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.The names of many towns...

s, i.e. the river flowed over major road routes. This may explain the presence of the Celtic element rid (c.f. Welsh rhyd, "ford") in various placenames along the Trent, such as Hill Ridware
Hill Ridware
Hill Ridware is a small village situated in the Lichfield district of Staffordshire, England. It is the largest settlement in the civil parish of Mavesyn Ridware....

, as well as the Old English‐derived ford. Another translation is given as "the trespasser", referring to the waters flooding over the land. According to Koch at the University of Wales
University of Wales
The University of Wales was a confederal university founded in 1893. It had accredited institutions throughout Wales, and formerly accredited courses in Britain and abroad, with over 100,000 students, but in October 2011, after a number of scandals, it withdrew all accreditation, and it was...

, the name Trent derives from the Romano-British
Romano-British
Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

 Trisantona, a Romano-British
Romano-British
Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

 reflex of the combined Proto-Celtic elements *tri-sent(o)-on-ā- (through-path-AUG
Augmentative
An augmentative is a morphological form of a word which expresses greater intensity, often in size, but also in other attributes...

-F
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

-) ‘great feminine thoroughfare’.

Prehistory

In the Pliocene
Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

 epoch (1.7 million years ago) the River Trent rose in the Welsh hills and flowed almost east from Nottingham through the present Vale of Belvoir
Vale of Belvoir
The Vale of Belvoir is an area of natural beauty on the borders of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire in England. Indeed, the name itself derives from the Norman-French for beautiful view.-Extent and geology:...

 to cut a gap through the limestone ridge at Ancaster
Ancaster, Lincolnshire
Ancaster is a village in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England, on the site of the Roman town of "Causennae"Ancaster Hall at The University of Nottingham is named after the parish and the, now extinct, title of the Earl of Ancaster....

 and thence to the North Sea At the end of the Wolstonian Stage (c. 130,000 years ago) a mass of stagnant ice left in the Vale of Belvoir caused the river to divert north along the old Lincoln river, through the Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 gap. In a following glaciation (Devensian, 70,000 BC) the ice held back vast areas of water – called Glacial Lake Humber – in the current lower Trent basin. When this retreated, the Trent adopted its current course into the Humber.

Migration of course in historic times

Unusually for an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 river, the river channel has occasionally altered significantly in historic times. An abandoned channel at Repton
Repton
Repton is a village and civil parish on the edge of the River Trent floodplain in South Derbyshire, about north of Swadlincote. Repton is close to the county boundary with neighbouring Staffordshire and about northeast of Burton upon Trent.-History:...

 is described on an old map as 'Old Trent Water'. Further downstream, archaeologists have found the remains of a medieval bridge across another abandoned channel. The course of the river was altered in the area of Ingleby
Ingleby, Derbyshire
Ingleby is a hamlet and civil parish in South Derbyshire, England. Situated on the south of the River Trent on a rise between Stanton by Bridge and Repton, Ingleby contains the privately owned John Thompson public house and the Ingleby Art Gallery....

 in Derbyshire, "moving" 300 acres (121.4 ha) from one side of the river to another. The river's propensity to change course is referred to in Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's play Henry IV - Part 1:


History of navigation

Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

 seems to have been the ancient head of navigation until the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

, due partly to the difficult navigation of the Trent Bridge
Trent Bridge (bridge)
Trent Bridge is an iron and stone road bridge across the River Trent in Nottingham, England. It is the principal river crossing for entrance to the city from the south, although the upstream Clifton Bridge is both larger and busier.-Medieval bridge:...

. Navigation was then extended to Wilden Ferry, near to the more recent Cavendish Bridge, as a result of the efforts of the Fosbrooke family of Shardlow
Shardlow
Shardlow is a village in Derbyshire, England about 8 km southeast of Derby and 12 km southwest of Nottingham. It is part of the civil parish of Shardlow and Great Wilne, and the district of South Derbyshire. It is also very close to the border with Leicestershire which follows the River Trent, ...

.

Later, in 1699, Lord Paget
William Paget, 6th Baron Paget
William Paget, 6th Baron Paget was an English peer and Ambassador.Paget was English ambassador to Vienna between 1689 and 1692 and Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople between 1692 and 1702, during which time he was central to the negotiation of the Treaty of Carlowitz between the...

, who owned coal mines and land in the area, obtained an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 to extend navigation up to Fleetstones Bridge, Burton, despite opposition from the people of Nottingham. Lord Paget seems to have funded the work privately, building locks at King's Mills and Burton Mills and several cuts and basins. The Act gave him absolute control over the building of any wharfs and warehouses above Nottingham Bridge. Lord Paget leased the navigation and the wharf at Burton to George Hayne
George Hayne
George Hayne was a merchant and entrepreneur who was responsible for the creation of the Trent Navigation in England and hence the development of Burton upon Trent as the pre-eminent beer brewing and exporting town....

, while the wharf and warehouses at Wilden were leased by Leonard Fosbrooke, who held the ferry rights and was a business partner of Hayne. The two men refused to allow any cargo to be landed which was not carried in their own boats, and so created a monopoly.

In 1748, the merchants from Nottingham attempted to break this monopoly by landing goods on the banks and into carts, but Fosbrooke used his ferry rope to block the river, and then created a bridge by mooring boats across the channel, and employing men to defend them. Hayne subsequently scuppered a barge in King's Lock, and for the next eight years goods had to be transhipped around it. Despite a Chancery injunction against them, the two men continued with their action. Hayne's lease ran out in 1762, and Lord Paget's son, the Earl of Uxbridge, gave the new lease to the Burton Boat Company.

The Trent and Mersey Canal
Trent and Mersey Canal
The Trent and Mersey Canal is a in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and North West of England. It is a "narrow canal" for the vast majority of its length, but at the extremities—east of Burton upon Trent and west of Middlewich—it is a wide canal....

 was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1766, and construction from Shardlow to Preston Brook, where it joined the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
The Bridgewater Canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh, in North West England. It was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester...

, was completed by 1777. The canal ran parallel to the upper river to Burton on Trent, where new wharfs and warehouses at Horninglow served the town, and the Burton Boat Company were unable to repair the damaged reputation of the river created by their predecessors. Eventually in 1805, they reached an agreement with Henshall & Co., the leading canal carriers, for the closure of the river above Wilden Ferry. Though the river is no doubt legally still navigable above Shardlow, it is probable that the agreement marks the end of the use of that stretch of the river as a commercial navigation.

The Lower River

The first improvement of the lower river was at Newark
Newark-on-Trent
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1 , and the East Coast Main Line railway. The origins of the town are possibly Roman as it lies on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way...

, where the channel splits into two. The residents of the town wanted to increase the use of the branch nearest to them, and so an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1772 to authorise the work. Newark Navigation Commissioners were created, with powers to borrow money to fund the construction of two locks, and to charge tolls for boats using them. The work was completed by October 1773, and the separate tolls remained in force until 1783, when they were replaced by a 1 shilling (5p) toll whichever channel the boats used.

Users of the Trent and Mersey Canal, the Loughborough Canal and the Erewash Canal
Erewash Canal
The Erewash Canal is a broad canal in Derbyshire, England. It runs just under and has 14 locks. The first lock at Langley Bridge is actually part of the Cromford Canal.-Origins:...

 next demanded major improvements to the river down to Gainsborough, including new cuts, locks, dredging and a towing path suitable for horses. The Dadfords, who were engineers on the Trent and Mersey Canal, estimated the cost at £20,000, but the proposal was opposed by landowners and merchants on the river, while the Navigator, published in 1788, estimated that around 500 men who were employed to bow-haul boats would have lost their jobs. Agreement could not be reached, and so William Jessop
William Jessop
William Jessop was an English civil engineer, best known for his work on canals, harbours and early railways in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.-Early life:...

 was asked to re-assess the situation. He suggested that dredging, deepening, and restricting the width of the channel could make significant improvements to the navigable depth, although cuts would be required at Wilford, Nottingham bridge and Holme. This proposal formed the basis for an Act of Parliament obtained in 1783, which also allowed a horse towing path to be built. The work was completed by September 1787, and dividends of 5 per cent were paid on the capital in 1786 and 1787, rising to 7 per cent, the maximum allowed by the Act, after that. Jessop carried out a survey for a side cut and lock at Sawley in 1789, and it was built by 1793.

At the beginning of the 1790s, the Navigation faced calls for a bypass of the river at Nottingham, where the passage past Trent Bridge was dangerous, and the threat of a canal running parallel to the river, which was proposed by the Erewash and the Trent and Mersey Canal companies. In order to retain control of the whole river, they supported the inclusion of the Beeston Cut in the bill for the Nottingham Canal
Nottingham Canal
The Nottingham Canal was a long canal between Langley Mill in Derbyshire and Nottingham, England. It opened in 1796, and most of it was closed in 1937. The southern section is now part of the River Trent Navigation, and the northern section is a nature reserve.-Origins:The idea for the canal first...

, which prevented the Erewash Canal company from getting permission to build it, and then had the proposal removed from the Nottingham Canal company's bill in return for their support of the main bill. The parallel canal was thwarted in May 1793, when they negotiated the withdrawal of the canal bill by proposing a thorough survey of the river which would lead to their own legislation being put before parliament. William Jessop carried out the survey, assisted by Robert Whitworth, and they published their report on 8 July 1793. The major proposals included a cut and lock at Cranfleet, where the River Soar
River Soar
The River Soar is a tributary of the River Trent in the English East Midlands.-Description:It rises near Hinckley in Leicestershire and is joined by the River Sence near Enderby before flowing through Leicester , Barrow-on-Soar, beside Loughborough and Kegworth, before joining the Trent near...

 joins the Trent, a cut, locks and weirs at Beeston
Beeston, Nottinghamshire
Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England. It is southwest of Nottingham city centre. Although typically regarded as a suburb of the City of Nottingham, and officially designated as part of the Nottingham Urban Area, for local government purposes it is in the borough of Broxtowe, lying outside...

, which would connect with the Nottingham Canal at Lenton, and a cut and lock at Holme Pierrepont
Holme Pierrepont
Holme Pierrepont is a hamlet located south of the city of Nottingham in Nottinghamshire, England. It is in the Gamston ward of the Rushcliffe local authority in the East Midlands region....

. An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1794, and the existing proprietors subscribed the whole of the authorised capital of £13,000 (£ as of ), themselves.

The aim of the improvements was to increase the minimum depth from 2 foot (0.6096 m) to 3 foot (0.9144 m). By early 1796, the Beeston cut was operational, with the Cranfleet cut following in 1797, and the Holme cut in 1800, with the whole works being finished by 1 September 1801. The cost exceeded the authorised capital by a large margin, with the extra being borrowed, but the company continued to pay a 7 per cent dividend on the original shares and on those created to finance the new work. In 1823 and again in 1831, the Newark Navigation Commissioners proposed improvements to the river, so that larger vessels could be accommodated, but the Trent Navigation Company were making a healthy profit, and did not see the need for such work.

Competition

The arrival of the railways resulted in significant change for the Company. Tolls were reduced to retain the traffic, wages were increased to retain the workforce, and they sought amalgamation with a railway company. The Nottingham and Gainsborough Railway offered £100 per share in 1845, but this was rejected. Tolls fell from £11,344 (£ as of ), in 1839 to £3,111 (£ as of ), in 1855. Many of the connecting waterways were bought by railway companies, and gradually fell into disrepair. In an attempt to improve the situation, the Company toyed with the idea of cable-hauled steam tugs, but instead purchased a conventional steam dredger and some steam tugs. The cost of improvements was too great for the old company, and so an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1884 to restructure the company and raise additional capital. Failure to raise much of the capital resulted in another Act being obtained in 1887, with similar aims and similar results. A third Act of 1892 reverted the name to the Trent Navigation Company, and this time, some improvements were carried out.

With traffic still between 350,00 and 400,000 tonnes per year, Frank Rayner became the engineer in 1896, and the company were persuaded that major work was necessary if the navigation was to survive. The engineer for the Manchester Ship Canal
Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal is a river navigation 36 miles long in the North West of England. Starting at the Mersey Estuary near Liverpool, it generally follows the original routes of the rivers Mersey and Irwell through the historic counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. Several sets of locks lift...

, Sir Edward Leader Williams, was commissioned to survey the river, while negotiations with the North Staffordshire Railway, who owned the Trent and Mersey Canal and had maintained its viability, ensured that some of the clauses from previous Acts of Parliament did not prevent progress. A plan to build six locks between Cromwell and Holme, and to dredge this section to ensure it was 60 feet (18.3 m) wide and 5 feet (1.5 m) deep was authorised by an Act of Parliament obtained in 1906. Raising finance was difficult, but some was subscribed by the chairman and vice-chairman, and construction of Cromwell Lock
Cromwell Lock
Cromwell Lock is a large navigation lock on the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, and marks the tidal limit of the river. The first lock to be built on the site was constructed by the Trent Navigation Company, having been authorised by an Act of Parliament obtained in 1906. Construction began in late...

 began in 1908. The Newark Navigation Commissioners financed improvements to Newark Town lock at the same time, and dredging of the channel was largely funded by selling the 400,000 tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s of gravel removed from the river bed. At 188 by, Cromwell lock could hold a tug and three barges, and was opened on 22 May 1911. The transport of petroleum provided a welcome increase to trade on the river, but little more work was carried out before the onset of the First World War.

Modernisation

Increased running costs after the First World War could not be met by increasing the tolls, as the company had no statutory powers to do so, and so suggested that the Ministry of Transport should take over the navigation, which they did from 24 September 1920. Tolls were raised, and a committee recommended improvements to the river. Nottingham Corporation invested some £450,000 on building the locks authorised by the 1906 Act, starting with Holme lock on 28 September 1921, and finishing with Hazelford lock, which was formally opened by Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 on 25 June 1926. A loan from Nottingham Corporation and a grant from the Unemployment Grants Committee enabled the Company to rebuild Newark Nether lock, which was opened on 12 April 1926.

In the early 1930s, the Company considered enlarging the navigation above Nottingham, in conjunction with improvements to the River Soar Navigation, between Trent Lock and Leicester. There were also negotiations with the London and North Eastern Railway
London and North Eastern Railway
The London and North Eastern Railway was the second-largest of the "Big Four" railway companies created by the Railways Act 1921 in Britain...

, who were responsible for the Nottingham Canal between Trent Lock and Lenton. Plans for new larger locks at Beeston and Wilford were dropped when the Trent Catchment Board opposed them. The Grand Union declined to improve the Soar Navigation, because the Trent Navigation Company could not guarantee 135,000 tons of additional traffic. The Company also considered a plan to reopen the river to Burton, which would have involved the rebuilding of Kings Mills lock, and the construction of four new locks. An extra set of gates were added to Cromwell lock in 1935, effectively creating a second lock, while the Lenton to Trent Lock section was leased from the LNER in 1936, and ultimately purchased in 1946.

Frank Rayner, who had been with the Company since 1887, and had served as its engineer and later general manager since 1896, died in December 1945. Sir Ernest Jardine, who as vice-chairman had partly funded the first lock at Cromwell in 1908, died in 1947, and the company ceased to exist in 1948, when the waterways were nationalised. The last act of the directors was to pay a 7.5 per cent dividend on the shares in 1950. Having taken over responsibility for the waterway, the Transport Commission enlarged Newark Town lock in 1952, and the flood lock at Holme was removed to reduce the risk of flooding in Nottingham. More improvements followed between 1957 and 1960. The two locks at Cromwell became one, capable of holding eight Trent barges, dredging equipment was updated, and several of the locks were mechanised. Traffic rose from 620,000 tonnes in 1951 to 1,017,356 tonnes in 1964, but all of this was below Nottingham. Commercial carrying above Nottingham ceased during the 1950s, to be replaced by pleasure cruising.

Although commercial use of the river has declined, the lower river between Cromwell and Nottingham can still take large motor barges up to around 150 ft in length with a capacity of approx 300 tonnes. Barges still transport gravel from pits at Girton and Besthorpe to Goole and Hull.

Navigation today

The river is legally navigable for some 117 miles (188.3 km) below Burton upon Trent
Burton upon Trent
Burton upon Trent, also known as Burton-on-Trent or simply Burton, is a town straddling the River Trent in the east of Staffordshire, England. Its associated adjective is "Burtonian"....

. However for practical purposes, navigation above the southern terminus of the Trent and Mersey Canal
Trent and Mersey Canal
The Trent and Mersey Canal is a in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and North West of England. It is a "narrow canal" for the vast majority of its length, but at the extremities—east of Burton upon Trent and west of Middlewich—it is a wide canal....

 (at Shardlow
Shardlow
Shardlow is a village in Derbyshire, England about 8 km southeast of Derby and 12 km southwest of Nottingham. It is part of the civil parish of Shardlow and Great Wilne, and the district of South Derbyshire. It is also very close to the border with Leicestershire which follows the River Trent, ...

) is conducted on the canal, rather than on the river itself. The T&M canal connects the Trent to the Potteries
Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent , also called The Potteries is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles long, with an area of . Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms The Potteries Urban Area...

 and on to Runcorn
Runcorn
Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port within the borough of Halton in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. In 2009, its population was estimated to be 61,500. The town is on the southern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form Runcorn Gap. Directly to the north...

 and the Bridgewater Canal
Bridgewater Canal
The Bridgewater Canal connects Runcorn, Manchester and Leigh, in North West England. It was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley to Manchester...

.

Down river of Shardlow, the non-tidal river is navigable as far as the Cromwell Lock
Cromwell Lock
Cromwell Lock is a large navigation lock on the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, and marks the tidal limit of the river. The first lock to be built on the site was constructed by the Trent Navigation Company, having been authorised by an Act of Parliament obtained in 1906. Construction began in late...

 near Newark
Newark-on-Trent
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1 , and the East Coast Main Line railway. The origins of the town are possibly Roman as it lies on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way...

, except in Nottingham (Beeston
Beeston, Nottinghamshire
Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England. It is southwest of Nottingham city centre. Although typically regarded as a suburb of the City of Nottingham, and officially designated as part of the Nottingham Urban Area, for local government purposes it is in the borough of Broxtowe, lying outside...

 Cut & Nottingham Canal
Nottingham Canal
The Nottingham Canal was a long canal between Langley Mill in Derbyshire and Nottingham, England. It opened in 1796, and most of it was closed in 1937. The southern section is now part of the River Trent Navigation, and the northern section is a nature reserve.-Origins:The idea for the canal first...

) and just west of Nottingham, where there are two lengths of canal, Sawley and Cranfleet cuts. Below Cromwell lock, the Trent is tidal, and therefore only navigable by experienced, well-equipped boaters. Navigation lights and a proper anchor and cable are compulsory. Associated British Ports, the navigation authority for the river from Gainsborough to Trent Falls, insist that anyone in charge of a boat must be experienced at navigating in tidal waters.

Experience is especially necessary at Trent Falls
Trent Falls
Trent Falls is the name of the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Trent which forms the Humber in Yorkshire, England.Despite a training wall and a mini-lighthouse called 'Apex Light', navigation at Trent Falls is not simple...

, a lonely spot where the Trent joins the Yorkshire Ouse
River Ouse, Yorkshire
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. The river is formed from the River Ure at Cuddy Shaw Reach near Linton-on-Ouse, about 6 miles downstream of the confluence of the River Swale with the River Ure...

, to form the Humber
Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

 estuary. The timetables of flows and tides of the two rivers and the estuary are very complex here, and vary through the lunar cycle. Boats coming down the Trent on an ebbing tide often have to anchor or beach themselves (sometimes in the dark) at Trent Falls to wait for the next incoming tide to carry them up the Ouse.

Trent Aegir

At certain times of the year, the lower tidal reaches of the Trent experience a moderately large tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

 (up to five feet (1.5m) high), commonly known as the Trent Aegir. The Aegir occurs when a high spring tide meets the downstream flow of the river. The funnel shape of the river mouth exaggerates this effect, causing a large wave to travel upstream as far as Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
Gainsborough is a town 15 miles north-west of Lincoln on the River Trent within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. At one time it served as an important port with trade downstream to Hull, and was the most inland in England, being more than 55 miles from the North...

, and sometimes beyond. The aegir cannot travel much beyond Gainsborough as the shape of the river reduces the aegir to little more than a ripple, and weirs north of Newark-on-Trent
Newark-on-Trent
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1 , and the East Coast Main Line railway. The origins of the town are possibly Roman as it lies on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way...

, Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west...

 stop its path completely.

The literal North/South divide

The Trent historically marked the boundary between Northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

 and Southern England
Southern England
Southern England, the South and the South of England are imprecise terms used to refer to the southern counties of England bordering the English Midlands. It has a number of different interpretations of its geographic extents. The South is considered by many to be a cultural region with a distinct...

. For example the administration of Royal Forests was subject to a different Justice in Eyre
Justice in Eyre
In English law, the Justices in Eyre were the highest magistrates in forest law, and presided over the court of justice-seat, a triennial court held to punish offenders against the forest law and enquire into the state of the forest and its officers...

 north and south of the river, and the jurisdiction of the medieval Council of the North
Council of the North
The Council of the North was an administrative body originally set up in 1484 by king Richard III of England, the third and last Yorkist monarch to hold the Crown of England; its intention was to improve government control and economic prosperity, to benefit the entire area of Northern England...

 started at the Trent. Some traces of the former division remain: the Trent marks the boundary between the provinces of two English Kings of Arms
King of Arms
King of Arms is the senior rank of an officer of arms. In many heraldic traditions, only a king of arms has the authority to grant armorial bearings. In other traditions, the power has been delegated to other officers of similar rank.-Heraldic duties:...

, Norroy
Norroy and Ulster King of Arms
Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is one of the senior Officers of Arms of the College of Arms, and the junior of the two provincial Kings of Arms. The current office is the combination of two former appointments...

 and Clarenceux
Clarenceux King of Arms
Clarenceux King of Arms is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Clarenceux is the senior of the two provincial kings of arms and his jurisdiction is that part of England south of the River Trent. The office almost certainly existed in 1420, and there is a fair degree of...

.

Pollution

On 7 October 2009 the government announced that the Trent had suffered a serious pollution incident when cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 and ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 from partially treated sewage found its way into the river, killing thousands of fish.

Places along the Trent

Cities and towns on or close to the river include:
  • Stoke-on-Trent
    Stoke-on-Trent
    Stoke-on-Trent , also called The Potteries is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles long, with an area of . Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms The Potteries Urban Area...

  • Stone
    Stone, Staffordshire
    Stone is an old market town in Staffordshire, England, situated about seven miles north of Stafford, and around seven miles south of the city of Stoke-on-Trent. It is the second town, after Stafford itself, in the Borough of Stafford, and has long been of importance from the point of view of...

  • Rugeley
    Rugeley
    Rugeley is a historic market town in the county of Staffordshire, England. It lies on the northern edge of Cannock Chase, and is situated roughly midway between the towns of Stafford, Cannock, Lichfield and Uttoxeter...

  • Lichfield
    Lichfield
    Lichfield is a cathedral city, civil parish and district in Staffordshire, England. One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly north of Birmingham...

  • Burton upon Trent
    Burton upon Trent
    Burton upon Trent, also known as Burton-on-Trent or simply Burton, is a town straddling the River Trent in the east of Staffordshire, England. Its associated adjective is "Burtonian"....

  • Castle Donington
    Castle Donington
    Castle Donington is a village, with a population of around 7000 in the North West of Leicestershire, part of the Derby postcode area and on the edge of the National Forest. It is the closest town to East Midlands Airport.-Transport and housing:...

  • Derby
    Derby
    Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

  • Long Eaton
    Long Eaton
    Long Eaton is a town in Derbyshire, England. It lies just north of the River Trent about southwest of Nottingham and is part of the Nottingham Urban Area...

  • Beeston
    Beeston, Nottinghamshire
    Beeston is a town in Nottinghamshire, England. It is southwest of Nottingham city centre. Although typically regarded as a suburb of the City of Nottingham, and officially designated as part of the Nottingham Urban Area, for local government purposes it is in the borough of Broxtowe, lying outside...

  • Nottingham
    Nottingham
    Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

  • Newark-on-Trent
    Newark-on-Trent
    Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1 , and the East Coast Main Line railway. The origins of the town are possibly Roman as it lies on an important Roman road, the Fosse Way...

  • Rampton
    Rampton, Nottinghamshire
    Rampton is a village and civil parish in Nottinghamshire, England. At the time of the 2001 census it had a population of 1,269. Its name came from Anglo-Saxon Ramm-tūn = "ram farmstead". It is located in the Trent valley north of Nottingham, in the Bassetlaw district 8 miles east of Retford...

  • Dunham Bridge
    Dunham Bridge
    Dunham Bridge is a toll bridge across the River Trent in England. It spans the border between the administrative counties of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to the west and east respectively. It forms part of the A57 road, in the section between the Great North Road and Lincoln...

     – A57
    A57 road
    The A57 is a major road in England. It runs east from Liverpool to Lincoln, via Warrington, Cadishead, Irlam, Patricroft, Eccles, Salford and Manchester, then through the Pennines over the Snake Pass , around the Ladybower Reservoir, through Sheffield and past Worksop...

     Swing Toll bridge
    Toll bridge
    A toll bridge is a bridge over which traffic may pass upon payment of a toll, or fee.- History :The practice of collecting tolls on bridges probably harks back to the days of ferry crossings where people paid a fee to be ferried across stretches of water. As boats became impractical to carry large...

  • Gainsborough
    Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
    Gainsborough is a town 15 miles north-west of Lincoln on the River Trent within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. At one time it served as an important port with trade downstream to Hull, and was the most inland in England, being more than 55 miles from the North...

  • Gunness
    Gunness
    Gunness is a civil parish and small village situated on the east bank of the River Trent and deriving its name from forming a ness or promontory in the River Trent....

  • Scunthorpe
    Scunthorpe
    Scunthorpe is a town within North Lincolnshire, England. It is the administrative centre of the North Lincolnshire unitary authority, and had an estimated total resident population of 72,514 in 2010. A predominantly industrial town, Scunthorpe, the United Kingdom's largest steel processing centre,...


Power stations

The River and Trent Valley provides cooling water to a large number of current coal- and later gas-fired electricity power stations along its route. Starting from the source to the sea, those adjacent power stations that continue to use, or have used the river as their source of coolant are: Meaford Power Station
Meaford Power Station
Meaford Power Station was a coal-fired power station situated on the River Trent at Meaford near Stone in Staffordshire.-Meaford A:Work began on the new power station in 1945, and was completed in 1948. The station was to later be known as Meaford A power station...

, Rugeley Power Station
Rugeley Power Station
The Rugeley power stations are a series of two coal-fired power stations located on the River Trent at Rugeley in Staffordshire. The first power station on the site, Rugeley A power station was opened in 1961, but has since been closed and demolished. Rugeley B power station was commissioned in...

, Drakelow Power Station
Drakelow Power Station
Drakelow Power Station refers to a series of three now demolished coal-fired power stations located south of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire in the West Midlands of England, on the River Trent. However, the station was actually located in the county of Derbyshire, in the East Midlands...

, Willington Power Station, Castle Donington Power Station
Castle Donington Power Station
Castle Donington Power Station was a coal-fired power station situated on the River Trent near Castle Donington, Leicestershire, south-east of Derby. Construction began in 1951, and the station opened in 1958. The station had six 100 megawatt generating units, with the turbo-generators...

, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station
Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station is a coal-fired power station operated by E.ON UK at Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire, England. Commissioned in 1968 by the then Central Electricity Generating Board, the station has a capacity of 2,000 MW...

, Wilford Power Station
Wilford Power Station
Wilford Power Station was a coal-fired power station situated on the north bank of the River Trent, at Nottingham in the East Midlands. The station was demolished during the 1980s and the site has since been redeveloped and is now the Riverside Retail Park....

, Staythorpe Power Station
Staythorpe Power Station
Staythorpe C Power Station is a 1,700 MWe gas-fired power station between Southwell and Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, between the River Trent and Nottingham to Lincoln Line. It opened in 2010.-History:...

, High Marnham Power Station
High Marnham Power Station
High Marnham Power Station is a former coal-fired power station, currently undergoing demolition. It is located in Nottinghamshire, to the west of the River Trent, just south of the village of Dunham. It was the most southerly of three power stations which lined the River Trent, the others being...

, Cottam Power Station
Cottam Power Station
The Cottam power stations are a pair of power stations, located on the River Trent at Cottam near Retford in Nottinghamshire. The largest of the two is a coal-fired power station, which was commissioned in 1969 by the Central Electricity Generating Board, and has a generating capacity of 1,970...

, West Burton Power Station
West Burton Power Station
The West Burton power stations are a pair of power stations on the River Trent near Gainsborough, in Nottinghamshire, England, located between Bole to the north and Sturton le Steeple to the south. One is a coal-fired power station, which was commissioned in 1968, and the second is a combined cycle...

 and Keadby Power Station
Keadby Power Station
Keadby Power Station is a 720MWe gas-fired power station near Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire. It lies the B1392 and the River Trent, and the Scunthorpe-Grimsby railway...

. Fuel in the form of coal was mainly supplied from the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire coalfields via Toton Marshalling Yards—this being now replaced by imported coal brought by ship from abroad.

There is one hydroelectric power station on the river, at Beeston Weir.

Tributaries

Among its tributaries are:
  • River Devon
    River Devon, Nottinghamshire
    The River Devon is a tributary of the River Trent, which rises in Leicestershire and joins the Trent at Newark in Nottinghamshire, England. In its upper reaches, it supplies Knipton Reservoir, which was built to supply water to the Grantham Canal, and Belvoir Lakes, designed by Capability Brown...

  • River Greet
    River Greet
    The River Greet is a small river in Nottinghamshire, England. Rising close to the village of Kirklington, the Greet flows in a southeasterly direction past Southwell and Rolleston to meet the River Trent at Fiskerton.-Hydrology:...

  • River Derwent
    River Derwent, Derbyshire
    The Derwent is a river in the county of Derbyshire, England. It is 66 miles long and is a tributary of the River Trent which it joins south of Derby. For half its course, the river flows through the Peak District....

    , Derby
    Derby
    Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

  • River Dove
    River Dove, Derbyshire
    The River Dove is the principal river of the southwestern Peak District, in the Midlands of England and is around in length. It rises on Axe Edge Moor near Buxton and flows generally south to its confluence with the River Trent at Newton Solney. From there, its waters reach the North Sea via the...

  • River Erewash
    River Erewash
    The River Erewash is a river in England that flows roughly southwards through Derbyshire, close to its eastern border with Nottinghamshire.-Etymology:...

  • River Idle
    River Idle
    The River Idle is a river in Nottinghamshire, England. Its source is the confluence of the River Maun and River Meden, near Markham Moor. From there, it flows north through Retford and Bawtry before entering the River Trent at Stockwith near Misterton...

    , Nottinghamshire
    Nottinghamshire
    Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west...

     – meets the Trent at West Stockwith
    West Stockwith
    West Stockwith is a village within the Bassetlaw district of Nottinghamshire, England.East Stockwith is a settlement close by, but within the county boundaries of Lincolnshire.-Etymology:...

  • River Leen
    River Leen
    The River Leen rises in the Robin Hood Hills just outside Kirkby-in-Ashfield. It then flows through the grounds of Newstead Abbey, skirts Hucknall, goes through Papplewick and on through Bestwood Country Park, and following the route of the Leen Valley into suburban and urban Nottingham, passing...

  • River Mease
    River Mease
    The River Mease is a lowland clay river in the Midlands area of England. It flows through the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire and forms the administrative border between these counties for parts of its length....

  • River Soar
    River Soar
    The River Soar is a tributary of the River Trent in the English East Midlands.-Description:It rises near Hinckley in Leicestershire and is joined by the River Sence near Enderby before flowing through Leicester , Barrow-on-Soar, beside Loughborough and Kegworth, before joining the Trent near...

    , Leicester
    Leicester
    Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

     – meets the Trent at Trentlock
    Trentlock
    Trent Lock is located south of Long Eaton, on the borders of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire in the United Kingdom...

  • River Sow
    River Sow
    The River Sow is a tributary of the River Trent in Staffordshire, England.The river rises to the south of Newcastle-under-Lyme and flows south to become the major river through Stafford. It also flows near Bishop's Offley and Tixall. At Baswich it is joined by the River Penk, before meeting the...

  • River Tame
    River Tame, West Midlands
    The River Tame is the main river of the West Midlands, and the most important tributary of the River Trent. The Tame is about 40 km from source at Oldbury to its confluence with the Trent near Alrewas, but the main river length of the entire catchment, i.e...

    , Birmingham
    Birmingham
    Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...


External links

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