Water Rail Way

The Water Rail Way is a 36-mile (58 km) cycling route following the disused former Lincoln to Boston railway line which closed in 1971.

Mostly tarmac and some earth bridleway surface, the Water Rail Way is flat and almost completely traffic-free.

The cycling route begins near Lincoln Cathedral and ends in Boston passing through Washingborough, Bardney (look out for the heritage centre and local bike hire located about 9 miles into the ride) and Southrey.

The Water Rail Way runs alongside the River Witham providing a home for the abundant wildlife including the secretive Water Rail bird; flora and fauna, and passes within 1.5 km of Tattershall Castle near Coningsby.

The route features sculptures celebrating the life and work of Lord Alfred Tennyson, the local environment and animal life.


The Water Rail Way passes through the Lincolnshire countryside. Beginning in Lincoln City Centre, the cycle route heads south-east to Boston.

Let’s Pedal

The Water Rail Way is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities as it has a fairly flat, tarmac surface. There are various access points along the route helping you set your own distance.

Easy to navigate, simply follow the National Cycle Network (NCN) route 1 signs which point the way from Lincoln to Boston.

Access the route at the end of the road, Waterside South, near Lincoln Central Rail Station and Lincoln Bus Station.

Along the route, there are signs informing you of nearby shops, cafés and pubs.

The route ends at 700-year-old St Botolph’s Church in Boston also known as Boston Stump.

Route Distance

FromToDistance (Miles)Distance (Km)
SouthreyKirkstead Bridge711.3
Kirkstead BridgeTattershall Bridge46.4
Tattershall BridgeLangrick Bridge711.3
Langrick BridgeBoston46.4


You will find a number of refreshment stops and Public houses available:

Lincoln city centre, Washingborough, Bardney, Kirkstead, Tattershall Bridge, Dogdyke, Langrick Bridge, Anston’s Gowt, Boston town centre.

There are a number of signs along The Water Rail Way directing you to local refreshments and public houses.


Toilets are located at:

Lincoln, for customers at various cafés and public houses along the route.

Cycle Hire available at:

Woodhall Country Park, Woodhall Spa

Tourist information available at:

Woodhall Country Park, Woodhall Spa; Lincoln; Boston.

How to get here

By Car

The Water Rail Way begins near the Lincoln Central Railway Station located on St Mary’s Street (LN5 7EW).  The cycle routes ends at St Botolph’s Church, Boston (PE21 6NW).

Car Parking

Pay and Display parking available near the route at these locations:

Car ParkLocationPostcodePrice
Lincoln Central Car ParkMelville Street, Lincoln LN5 7BPUp to 2 hour: £3.20
Up to 3 hour: £4.50
Up to 4 hours: £6.00
All day: £8.00
Lincoln Central StationSt Mary’s Street, LincolnLN5 7EW£4.50 all day
Chaplin StreetLincolnLN5 7BN£5.00 all day
CourthouseMarket Place, BostonPE21 6DY£2.50 all day (£1 on Sundays)
Rosegarth StreetBostonPE21 8QD£4.00 all day (£1.20 on Sundays)

By Cycle

The Water Rail Way is part of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 1 from Lincoln to Wisbach.

By Train

Lincoln or Boston


  • Distance (miles): 36
  • Distance (km): 58
  • Start: Lincoln Central Railway Station
  • Finish: St Botolph’s Church, Boston
  • Type: Disused railway line
  • Surface: Tarmac, bridleway SE of Bardney muddy when wet
  • Sat Nav: LN5 7EW


  • Car Park
  • Cycle Hire
  • Free Entry
  • Picnic Site
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets
  • Tourist Information

Cycle Hire

Woodhall Country Park

Stixwould Road
Woodhall Spa
LN10 6UJ

Opening Times

Open all year round except for any temporary closures due to works.


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The information provided on this page is believed to be correct and is given in good faith. Please be aware that it may have changed since our research. Use of the information on this page is at your risk, we cannot accept any liability for any problems or incidents arising. The maps are based on the postcodes of the centres. The postcode provided for Sat Nav is the nearest postcode to the start of the trail or car park and is therefore not 100% accurate to the entrance of the location. Postcodes are provided as a guide only. We recommend that you confirm the location and other details before travelling.

Cycling With The Kids is not responsible for the content of third party websites, and travel times, prices, routes and providers are correct at the time of writing, but may alter at short notice.

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