A public right of navigation remains today and is administered by EA. Lighter craft, such as canoes and kayaks, can navigate from Brundon Mill, upstream of Sudbury in Suffolk, to the sea at Brantham in Essex (a distance of approximately 25 miles). Powered craft, with certain specified exemptions such as the River Stour Trusts trip-boats, are restricted to the 3-mile stretch between Ballingdon Bridge and Great Henny.
For over 50 years, the River Stour Trust has continued to work towards through navigation for craft that cannot be portaged, to improve overall river access and seek a bye-law change to permit powered craft on the whole navigable stretch. The trust has restored four of the 13 derelict locks comprising a brand-new lock at Great Cornard (the first new lock on the river for over 200 years!) and the three Constable locks at Flatford, Dedham and Stratford St Mary.
The trust operates a fleet of seven trip-boats at Sudbury and the Dedham Vale to enable thousands of people a year to discover and enjoy this world-famous river. The trust also manages a couple of riverside venues: the historic Granary building and the purpose-built visitor education centre. These venues are used by the local community for a variety of events including classes, parties and weddings. They are vital as part of activities to help school groups and other visitors learn about the history and importance of the navigation.
In September 2018, the visitor education centre was badly damaged by fire and it is hoped the rebuild will be completed in June 2020. Another ongoing and important project is to bring Dedham Lock back into operation. Funding for production of the lock gates was provided by Enovert but additional funding avenues are sought for their installation and to fix the lock island erosion that places the integrity of the whole lock in jeopardy.
The River Stour Trust could not exist without the support and efforts of its members and volunteers. In 2020, it will organise a variety of events, river trips and educational activities that share the history, enjoyment and benefits of the beautiful River Stour.