Follow the Brayford Waterfront Trail to find out why the Brayford and its waterways have been so important to Lincoln through the centuries. For information and other things to do and see nearby, take a look at the Welcome boards situated by the entrance to the Lucy Tower Street Car Park or in front of The Shed on the University campus, and the interpretation boards dotted around the Waterfront.
A rental station for Lincoln's HireBike scheme can be found on the Brayford Waterfront outside the Royal William IV pub. You can rent a bike from here for free for up to half an hour and £1 per hour after that. Prices are capped at £4 per day so a day's use would costs just £4. Bikes can be taken across the whole city and come with a combination lock to keep safe whilst you explore as long as you bring it back to a station. There is another rental station at Lincoln Central Train Station which can also house the HireBikes.
The Brayford Chimes, designed by Andy Plant, reflects the past glories of the Brayford Pool as a major inland port. It includes a water feature and a clock which is designed to chime each hour using the water running through it. The Glory Hole engages the public as they enter and exit the Brayford area to and from the High Street, asking ‘where are you going’ and ‘where have you been’. It aims to entice you back to the city and to have you reflect on life itself.
The Brayford Pool is a naturally occurring lake at the junction of the Foss Dyke Canal and the River Witham. The Foss Dyke stretches 11 miles from the River Trent at Torksey Lock to Lincoln and is believed to be the oldest navigable, man-made canal in the country, originating from the Roman occupation in 120AD. The Witham joins the Brayford in the East, leaving through the Glory Hole, under High Bridge (the oldest bridge still used in the country), continuing to Boston and eventually flowing into the North Sea.
Why not explore Lincoln’s waterways for yourself on the Water Rail Way, a purpose built foot and cycle path along the water, punctuated by local artwork. This 33 mile, mainly off-road cycle path follows the River Witham, joining Lincoln to the historic market town of Boston.
Swans and Ducks
The Brayford Pool has long been a favourite place for mute swans. They breed upstream on the River Witham, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but are attracted down to the Brayford Pool area by food provided by passers-by. The number of swans usually peaks in the autumn and can be anything up to 130 birds.
Mute swans are one of the UK's largest birds and they can grow up to about 1.5m high. Although by definition the mute swans are usually silent, they do make a loud hissing noise when they are angry and young swans make a high pitched whistling noise.
A number of mallard ducks can be found in the area as well as the less commonly known Muscovy ducks, native to Central and South America but brought to Europe by explorers in the 16th Century. The strange looking ducks have been immortalized to a degree with a ground floor suite named after them in the University’s Main Admin Building.
Birds, Insects & Fish
Other birds you might see around the Brayford include the pied wagtail, kingfishers, mallards, moorhens, coots and herons. There are at least five different types of dragonfly, whilst the fish in the Brayford include roach, common bream, tench and pike. For budding anglers, the Lincoln and District Angling Association organise fishing in the Brayford Pool and the surrounding waterways.
Plants that can be found along River Witham include common species such as reed sweet grass, branched bur-reed and red mace, the much rarer arrowhead and flowering rush along with great water dock, skull cap and wild celery. A common tree along the river bank is the Alder.