The River Axe and the Pill are Crown Estate property up to mean high water. Tidal land, other than the wharf, are privately owned and the whole area is an SSSI.

Mooring leases are held by Uphill Boat Services for The Pill, The Licensed Boat and Fishermen's Association for the bank across from the club with about 20 moorings with WBYC Moorings Committee managing the remainder of the river. Should you want to keep a boat on the River Axe and would like a permanent mooring a licence is required and an annual rent paid.

The lower reaches of the Axe have a history of navigation from Uphill through to Lower Weare. The current navigation limit is the sluice gate at Bleadon and Brean Cross.


In the Middle Ages overseas trading was carried out from the port of Rackley, which is now North of the river; the course having been diverted. Rackley is currently a farm below Crooks Peak, West of Axbridge. There where wharves there. In the 14th Century it is known that a French ship sailed up the river, and by 1388, Thomas Tanner from Wells was using Rackley to export cloth and corn to Portugal, importing iron and salt in exchange. Later, slate was imported on this route.

It may still have been possible to trade through Rackley were it not for the installation of a flood gate at Bleadon and the drainage of the river through a 1915 Act of Parliament.

Bleadon had been a small port, also known as Lympsham Wharf, for many years . This was the furthest navigable point after the advent of the railway in 1841. During the early part of the 20th Century, Lympsham Wharf was mostly used as a transport hub for coal imported from Wales.

A series of 11 watermills were powered by the river, of which only one remains, at Burcott.