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The Stort Navigation is the canalised section of the River Stort running 22 kilometres (14 mi) from the town of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire downstream to its confluence with the River Lee Navigation at Feildes Weir near Rye House, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.
The first act of parliament relating to this river is entitled An Act for making the River Stort navigable, in the counties of Hertford and Essex, from the New Bridge, in the town of Bishop Stortford, into the River Lea, near a place called the Rye, in the county of Hertford, and appointed certain persons commissioners for carrying into effect the provisions of the act. However, there was difficulty in raising sufficient money for construction, and a second act was passed in 1766 entitled An Act for making and continuing navigable the River Stort, in the counties of Hertford and Essex. The second act empowered Charles Dingley, George Jackson and William Masterson to build the Navigation and to collect tolls.
In 1796 Jackson issued a Stort halfpenny token for use on the Navigation. The reverse shows the course of the river with a horse drawn barge in the foreground. It was struck by Matthew Boulton in mid-1796, despite the date on the piece (1795). Heinrich Küchler was the designer.
In 1812 and 1814 Acts were passed in Parliament to connect the River Stort to the River Cam, the new waterway was to have been called The London and Cambridge Junction Canal. However the canal was never started.
Thomas Yeoman was appointed engineer for the Navigation in 1766, and it was opened to boats in the autumn of 1769. The 15 locks are built to take boats 85 feet (25.9 m) by 13 feet 3 inches (4.0 m). A survey was made in 1788 by Samuel Weston for a branch to Saffron Walden, but this was not built.
The Navigation is now managed by British Waterways. It is walkable in its entire length, and the trail is part of the bigger Papposs 1 trail linking London with Bishop's Stortford, Cambridge and The Wash.