Chasing the Dream – a Canalside Plot with a Mooring

May 16th, 2022

In the years I have been running my canalside property pages, my most requested canalside property, without a doubt, is a plot of land where a boat can be moored. There are hundreds, if not thousands of you, who share that dream.

I always list canalside land on my Mailing Lists and on my Canalside Homes Facebook group if I find it, and I will always sell land if instructed, but canalside plots are very rare. I have never yet seen an ideal plot for a private owner come to the open market. There have been a handful of riverside plots, but these are probably slightly easier to find because of their extant riparian rights.

Almost all canalside land which I have seen coming to market is one of the following:

  • a prestigious building plot (expensive),
  • a brownfield development site (urban and expensive),
  • warehousing or factories with complex and expensive demolition or conversion costs (also urban and expensive),
  • large tracts of agricultural land which will not be divided
  • land which is unlikely to obtain change of use from the local council
  • land which is unlikely to obtain permission from the Canal & River Trust
  • land which is unlikely to be suitable for mortgage finance (e.g. no services, no road access)

If you do find a plot, there is a big question mark over whether you would get permission to moor there. You can find information about End of Garden Moorings on this website. Permission is more likely to be granted if there is a previous history of mooring, and nothing has changed since. Permission is unlikely to be granted if the land is on the towpath side, on a bend, near a bridge, near a lock, requires dredging, is on a narrow stretch, or is edged with mature trees.

As you will see on my End of Garden Moorings page, it is possible to apply for a mooring before you own a property. However, in reality the Canal & River Trust may take longer to grant an End of Garden mooring than the legal transaction takes to complete. They have to carry out searches, feasability surveys and more, before they grant permission. You might lose out on the property long before you establish that permission will be granted.

Canalside plots do exist – but they are generally sold privately to those in the know. One possible strategy is to look for these sites in the areas you are interested in, and perhaps get to know the manager or the mooring owners. Over time you may be lucky enough to hear of a plot becoming available, but always remember, demand far exceeds supply.

There are three attractive alternatives to waiting for a canalside plot to come up:

  • It is much easier to find a house with a mooring than it is to buy canalside land.
  • Visit the Canal & River Trust’s Waterside Moorings site and find a nice long term site on there.
  • Buy a house NEAR a mooring or a marina – this is a much cheaper option than a house with a mooring of its own.

I hope you find this useful. Good luck with your search!