By the end of the year, the navigation had been extended to Lindfield Mill.
The construction costs had reached £20,000, but the tolls were meagre, averaging just £236 per year between 1793 and 1796.
They noted that the mill was next to a wharf, and that it was powered by a single engine.
 With new motivation, the Proprietors found an engineer in William Smith, the geologist who had formerly worked for the Somerset Coal Canal, and engaged Dymoke Wells to carry out the construction work. The navigation above Lindfield was disused by 1861, and the last barge to Lindfield sailed in 1868, after which there was no trade above Lewes, although boats continued working on the Lower Ouse below Lewes.
, An Act of Parliament was obtained on 28 April 1790, covering improvements to the river between Lewes Bridge and Hammer Bridge in Cuckfield, with a branch to Shortbridge.
The preamble to the Act of Parliament which was obtained in 1790 indicated that the river was only used from the sea to Barcombe Mills at that time.
This work would include a new cut some 1,000 yards (910 m) long, and would cost an additional £1,980, which included the cost of a towpath from Lewes to Piddinghoe, just to the north of Newhaven. , 'Ouse' is a common name for rivers in England, with examples including the Ouse in Yorkshire, and the Great Ouse and Little Ouse in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
Trustees and the Commissioners of the Lewes and Laughton Levels jointly managed the work on the lower river, and the agriculturalist John Ellman continued the progress while he was Expenditor for the Commissioners, which enabled 120-ton ships to reach Lewes by 1829. Wells was a local man, and agreed to take one-third of the payment as cash and the remainder as bonds and shares. River Ouse is situated in Southease.
 The Ouse continues southeast past Glynde, where the tributary of Glynde Reach joins from the east, and then passes Rodmell, Southease and Piddinghoe.
A series of shoals, combined with the narrow and winding channel, held water back and prevented it from draining from the levels.  The outlet at Newhaven had been reinstated by 1731, when the Newhaven Harour Commissioners were established by Act of Parliament. The Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust was formed in 2001, with the long term aim of seeing navigation restored to the upper river, and have completed work on restoring Isfield Lock. The process was initially powered by waterwheel, but subsequently a 28 hp (21 kW) beam engine was installed, and by 1880 was driving 16 hydraulic presses.
, Trade along the Ouse Navigation consisted mostly of lime, chalk, manure, aggregates and coal. Previously, access to the church had only been available on Sundays, when owners of Malling Deanery allowed people to use their private suspension bridge, constructed in 1934, and located a little further upstream.
The brooks bordering the Glynde, to the east of Ranscombe, were generally at a higher level, but were affected by stagnant water lying on the surface.  It is opened regularly for commercial shipping, near to high tide, but as the bridge carries the A259 road, each opening causes significant traffic congestion. In the warmer interglacials the lower valley would have flooded; there are raised beaches 40 metres (Goodwood-Slindon) and 8 metres (Brighton-Norton) above present sea level. The most up to date and clearest maps of the River Great Ouse and Tributaries are available for download.
River Great Ouse Map. It passes into East Sussex just before reaching Sheffield Park railway station on the preserved Bluebell Railway. It was sold in 1791 to Thomas Barton, and the sale documents listed five pairs of stones, capable of producing 130 quarters of week each week.
Receipts in that year were about £800, a drop from around £1,200 in the 1810s, and despite significant reductions in tolls, traffic dwindled rapidly. The author Virginia Woolf drowned herself in the River Ouse on 28 March 1941, near the village of Rodmell. There was a 0.75-mile (1.2 km) branch to Shortbridge, and some shorter branches. The water quality of the River Ouse system was as follows in 2016. , He noted that the rise and fall of the tide below Piddinghoe was some 8 feet (2.4 m), but this was reduced to just 6 inches (15 cm) at the mouth of the Glynde, and was barely visible at Lewes Bridge.
Apart from the initial section from its source to Ardingly, the channel is designated as heavily modified, because of the canalisation works.
 In later centuries the river was draining the valley sufficiently well for some of the marshland to be reclaimed, by building embankments to create highly prized meadow land. The River Ouse, together with its main tributary the River Uck, form the central spines of a network of streams and rivers which drain over 250 square miles (650 km2) of Sussex. The river provides habitat for many varieties of fish, including unusually large sea trout that swim up the river to spawn in the higher tributaries. There is still a "Sharp's Bridge House" near to the bridge, which was probably the property bought by Pim in 1813.
In 2012, the Environment Agency decided that these functions would be better served by locally accountable organisations, and consulted local authorities as to how best this could be achieved.
, The river provides habitat for most of the species of coarse fish that can be found in Britain. Open 7 Days a Week. It covers an area of 822.8 acres (333.0 ha), and is noted for its wide diversity of water beetles, rare snails, flies and moths.
At high tide, the level of the river was above that in the meadows. Chemical status is rated good or fail..
The mill ceased to use water power in the 1920s, when Tidy & Sons owned it, but was in use until 1940, when the War Office requisitioned it to billet soldiers in it.
It would be 4 feet (1.2 m) deep, and at least 24 feet (7.3 m) wide, enabling it to accommodate boats 45 by 12 feet (13.7 by 3.7 m), which could carry 30 tons.
, Some of the tributaries on this middle section are similar to those on the upper section, but others are lowland streams, where the underlying geology is alluvium and clays, and which flow more slowly.  There were 19 locks, although Hadfield only quotes 18, perhaps because there were two at Barcombe, identified as Pikesbridge Upper and Lower Lock on the 1875 map. , A major user of the lower river was the Southerham Cement Works, located on the east bank of the river just above Lewes railway bridge. On 6 June 1791 a second Act was obtained, covering the work between Lewes and Newhaven, for the purposes of improving navigation and also improving the drainage of the low-lying lands of the Lewes and Laughton Levels. Download maps of the River Great Ouse and Tributaries. The three-storey brick and flint building still exists, but is now used for drying grain.  Navigation of the river between Lewes and Newhaven was only normally possible when there were spring tides, and so he also suggested that this could be resolved by making the channel wider, deeper and straighter.
However, by mid-1791, the committee was complaining that Pinkertons' work had been sub-standard and that some parts had failed. , The Act of Parliament obtained in 1791, to straighten the channel below Lewes, was managed by Trustees and the Commissioners of the Lewes and Laughton Levels. He found that the meadows, which were locally known as brooks, were in many cases under water, but that their condition, and therefore the remedies that would be required, were variable.
 The Phoenix Causeway is a larger road bridge named after the former Phoenix Ironworks, which was constructed in 1979 to provide a bypass for Cliffe High Street, and the Grade II listed Cliffe Bridge carries the High Street over the river.
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