The River Nene is an important regional navigation linking the Grand Union Canal to the River Great Ouse, via the Middle Level. Originally a commercial navigation it is now used almost entirely for recreation.
Flowing through Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and bordering Norfolk, the River Nene gives contrasting views of eastern England.
In Northamptonshire the river meanders through farmland and the industry of Northampton, Wellingborough and Irthlingborough. Further downstream there are numerous traditional stone villages and quiet country churches for which the 'county of squires and spires' is famous.
There are 90 miles of navigable waterway, with 38 locks between Northampton and Peterborough. Each lock is approximately 26m long and 4.6m wide. Most of the locks have pointing doors (sometimes called 'V-doors') at the upstream end, and vertical guillotine gates at the downstream end. The paddles on the pointing doors require a windlass to fit a 2.6cm square and the guillotine gates which are locked, require an Environment Agency navigation key to operate them.