List of canals of the United Kingdom

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Map showing canals of the British Isles. Canals in orange, rivers in blue, streams in grey.

Canals of the United Kingdom; see also Canals of the United Kingdom.

The following list includes some systems that are navigable rivers with sections of canal (e.g. Aire and Calder Navigation) as well as "completely" artificial canals (e.g. Rochdale Canal).

Canals in England[edit]

This includes only canals that are currently open or being restored and are at least partly in England. See also Abandoned Canals. Click on the diamond to sort by any column.

Canal Length Locks Max boat length (ft) Width (ft) Where[1] Year opened Year abandoned Year restored
Aire and Calder Navigation 34 mi (55 km) 12 200 20 NE 1704
Andover Canal 22 mi (35 km) 24 65 8.5 S 1794 1859
Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal 22 mi (35 km) 0 72 7 M 1804 1918, 1966
Ashton Canal 6 mi (10 km) 18 70 7 NW 1796 1961 1974
Barnsley Canal 14.5 mi (23 km) 15 84 14 NW 1799 1893, 1946 in process
Basingstoke Canal 32 mi (51 km) 29 68 13 S 1794 1910 1991
Beverley Beck 0.5 mi (1 km) 1 65 17.5 NE 1744
Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal[2] 2.5 mi (4 km) 6 70 7 M 1844
Birmingham Canal Navigations[3] 29.8 mi (48 km) 34 70 7 M 1772-1794
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal[4] 20.5 mi (33 km) 44 70 7 M 1789
Blyth Navigation 7 mi (11 km) 6 50 14 EA 1761 1911
Bridgewater Canal 40 mi (64 km) 0 72 14.75 NW 1761
Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, Somerset 14.5 mi (23 km) 6 50 9.83 SW 1827 1907 1994
Bude Canal 35 mi (56 km) 2[5] 20 5.5 SW 1823 1891
Calder and Hebble Navigation 21.5 mi (35 km) 38 55 14 NE 1794
Caldon Canal 18 mi (29 km) 17 72 7 NM 1779
Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation 13.8 mi (22 km) 13 60 16 EA 1797
Chesterfield Canal 45.5 mi (73 km), now 31.5 mi (51 km) 62 72 7 NE 1777 1907 part
Chichester Canal 4.5 mi (7 km) 3 85 18 S 1822 1906
Coventry Canal 32.5 mi (52 km) 13 72 7 M 1769, 1788
Dearne and Dove Canal[6] 9.8 mi (16 km) 19 58 14.83 NE 1804 1961
Derby Canal 14 mi (23 km) 17 72 14 NE 1796
Derby and Sandiacre Canal 14.5 mi (23 km) 9 72 14 NE 1793 1964
Digbeth Branch Canal[4] 1.25 mi (2.0 km) 6 72 7 M 1799
Driffield Navigation, East Yorkshire 11 mi (18 km) 6 61 14.5 NE 1767 1955 (part)
Droitwich Canal 7.3 mi (12 km) 15 71.5 7.08 M 1771,1854 1939 2011
Dudley Canal[4] 10.3 mi (17 km) M 1770,1792 1948 1973 (part)
Erewash Canal[2] 11.8 mi (19 km) 14 78 12.5 NE 1779 1962 (part)
Exeter Canal 5.2 mi (8 km) 2 122 26.25 SW 1563
Fairbottom Branch Canal 1 mi (2 km) 0 NW 1792 1932
Foss Dyke 11.3 mi (18 km) 1 74.5 15.17 E 1121
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal 16.5 mi (27 km) 2 240 30 SW 1826
Grand Junction Canal[2] 129.4 mi (208 km) 90 72 14.7 M 1800,1805
Grand Union Canal[7] 286.3 mi (461 km) 236 72 14 M 1927
Grand Union Canal (old)[2] 24.3 mi (39 km) 17 72 7 EM 1814
Grand Western Canal 10.5 mi (17 km) 0 SW 1838
Grantham Canal 33 mi (53 km) 18 75 14 EM 1797 1936
Hatherton Canal[4] 4 mi (6 km) 8 70 7 NM 1860 1955
Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal 34 mi (55 km) 22 70 7 W 1798,1845 1881
Hertford Union Canal[2] 1.3 mi (2 km) 3 78 14.5 SE 1830
Hollinwood Branch Canal 4.5 mi (7 km) 4 70 7 NW 1792 1932
Huddersfield Broad Canal 3.8 mi (6 km) 9 57.5 14.17 NE 1780
Huddersfield Narrow Canal 19.9 mi (32 km) 74 70 7 NE 1811
Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation 15.9 mi (26 km) 15 55 14 EA 1793 1934
Islington Branch Canal 0.6 mi (1 km) 0 NW 1801 1952
Kennet and Avon Canal 86.5 mi (139 km) 105 70 12.5 SW 1727,1810 (1950)[8] 1990
Lancaster Canal 60.9 mi (98 km) 14 72 14.5 NW 1797, 1825 1955 2002 (part)
Leeds and Liverpool Canal 142.6 mi (229 km) 105 62[9] 14 NE,NW 1816
Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal[2] 48 mi (77 km) 22 72 13 EM 1807
Lichfield Canal[4] 7 mi (11 km) 30 70 7 M 1797 1955
Limehouse Cut 2 mi (3 km) 0 88 19 SE 1766[10]
Llangollen Canal 46.3 mi (75 km) 21 70’ 6.83 W 1808
Louth Navigation 11.8 mi (19 km) 8 72 15 NE 1770 1924
Lydney Canal 1 mi (2 km) 1 100 24 SW 1821 1977 2005 (part)
Macclesfield Canal 26.3 mi (42 km) 13 70 7 NW 1831
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal 12.9 mi (21 km) 17 68 14.17 NW 1797,1808 1941,1961
Manchester Ship Canal 37.4 mi (60 km) 5 600 65 NW 1894
Market Weighton Canal 9.5 mi (15 km) 1 70 14.83 NE 1782 1971[11]
Melton Mowbray Navigation 11 mi (18 km) 12 EM 1797 1877
Middle Level Navigations 90 mi (145 km) 7 80 11 E 1608-1832
Montgomery Canal 33 mi (53 km) 24 70 6.83 W 1821 1944 1996 (part)
New Junction Canal 5.5 mi (9 km) 1 215 22.5 NE 1905
North Walsham & Dilham Canal 7.3 mi (12 km) 4 50 12.33 EA 1826 1927 (part)
Nottingham Canal 14.7 mi (24 km)[12] 18 81 14.5 NE 1796 1937 (part)
Oxford Canal 78 mi (126 km) 43 70 6.83 M 1774, 1790
Peak Forest Canal 14.8 mi (24 km) 16 70 7 NW 1805 1960 1974
Pocklington Canal 9.5 mi (15 km) 9 57 14.25 NE 1818 1932
Regent's Canal[2] 8.6 mi (14 km) 13 72 14.5 SE 1820
Ribble Link 3 mi (5 km) 9 62 10.5 NW 2002
Ripon Canal 2.5 mi (4 km) 3 57 14.25 NE 1773 1906 1996
River Soar Navigation[2] 21.9 mi (35 km) 18 72 13 EM 1794
River Lee Navigation[13] 29.1 mi (47 km) 22 85 16 SE 1577, 1769
Rochdale Canal 32 mi (51 km) 91 74 14.17 NW 1800
Royal Military Canal 19 mi (31 km) 0 SE 1804
Sankey Canal 15.2 mi (24 km) 11 72 13.83 NW 1757 1963
Selby Canal 6 mi (10 km) 2 78.5 16.5 NE 1776
Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation[14] 28 mi (45 km) 24 61.5 15.25 NE 1802
Shrewsbury Canal 25 mi (40 km) 34 81 7 W 1797 1944
Shropshire Union Canal 76.5 mi (123 km) 51 72[15] 7[16] NM 1835
Sleaford Navigation 12.5 mi (20 km) 7 70 15 NE 1794 1940
Somerset Coal Canal 18 mi (29 km) SW 1802 1898[17] 1986 (part)[18]
Southwick Ship Canal 1.75 mi (2.8 km) 1 240 40 SE 1855
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal 46.1 mi (74 km) 43 70 7 NM 1772
Stainforth and Keadby Canal 14.9 mi (24 km) 3 61.67 17 NE 1802
Stockport Branch Canal 4.9 mi (8 km) 0 NW 1797 1962
Stort Navigation 13.8 mi (22 km) 15 86 13.25 SE 1769
Stourbridge Canal 7.8 mi (13 km) 21 70 7 M 1779
Stratford-upon-Avon Canal 25.5 mi (41 km) 56 70 7 M 1802, 1816
Stroudwater Navigation 8 mi (13 km) 13 70 15.5 SW 1779
Tame Valley Canal[4] 8.5 mi (14 km) 13 72 7 M 1844
Thames and Medway Canal[19] 6.5 mi (10 km) 1 24.5 6.5 SE 1824 1935
Thames and Severn Canal 28.8 mi (46 km) 44 74 12.75 SW 1789 1933
Trent and Mersey Canal 93.4 mi (150 km) 76 72 7[20] NE 1777
Uttoxeter Canal 13 mi (21 km) 19 NM 1811 1849 2005 (part)
Walsall Canal[4] 9.6 mi (15 km) 16 72 7 M 1785-1841
Wardle Canal 0.1 mi (0.2 km) 1 NM 1829
Warwick and Napton Canal[2] 14.2 mi (23 km) 25 72 7[21] M 1794
Warwick and Birmingham Canal[2] 24.3 mi (39 km) 28 70 7[21] M 1794
Wednesbury Old Canal[4] 4.4 mi (7 km) 3 70 7 M 1769 1955 (part)
Wey and Arun Junction Canal[22] 23 mi (37 km) 26 68 11.5 S 1816 1871
Wey and Godalming Navigations 19.5 mi (31 km) 16 72 13.83 S 1651, 1760
Wilts and Berks Canal 52.5 mi (84 km) 42 72 7 SW 1810 1914 1995 (part)
Worcester and Birmingham Canal 30 mi (48 km) 58 71.5 7 M 1815
Wyrley and Essington Canal[4] 23.5 mi (38 km) 39 70 7 M 1797 1900 (part)

Canals in Northern Ireland[edit]

Lagan Navigational Canal (disused) at Broadwater, near Aghalee)
Canal Length (miles) Locks Year opened Year abandoned Year restored
Broharris Canal 2 1820
Coalisland Canal[23] 7.2 7 1787 1954
Dukart's Canal 3[5] 1777 1787
Lagan Canal 27 27 1802 1958
Newry Canal 21 12 1742 1938
Shannon–Erne Waterway[24] 39 16 1780 1948 1994
Strabane Canal 4 2 1792 1962
Ulster Canal 46 26 1842 1931

Canals in Scotland[edit]

Canal Length (miles) Locks Max boat length (ft) Width (ft) Year opened Year abandoned Year restored
Aberdeenshire Canal 18 18 1805 1854
Buchan Canal
Caledonian Canal 62 29 150 35 1822
Crinan Canal 9 15 86.75 19.65 1817
Dingwall Canal 1.1 0 1816 1840
Forth and Clyde Canal 35 38 68.58 19.75 1790 1963 2002
Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal 11 0 1811 1881
Monkland Canal 12.25 18[25] 71 14 1794 1942
Stevenston Canal 2.25 0 13 1772 1830
Union Canal[26] 31.5 3[27] 63 12.5 1822 1930 2000

Canals in Wales[edit]

Canal Length (miles) Locks Max boat length (ft) Width (ft) Year opened Year abandoned Year restored
Aberdare Canal 6.75 2 1812 1900
Cyfarthfa Canal 2 1770's 1830's
Glamorganshire Canal 25 52 1798 1898, 1942
Glan-y-wern Canal c. 1.5 by 1790 c. 1810
Kidwelly and Llanelly Canal 18 8[28] 1768, 1837 1865
Llangollen Canal 46.3 21 70 6.83 1808
Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal 35 48 63 9.17 1796 1962 1970
Montgomery Canal 33 24 70 6.83 1821 1944 1996 (part)
Neath and Tennant Canal 21.5 21 60 9 1795, 1824 1934 1990 (part)
Swansea Canal 16.5 36 65 7.5 1798 1931

Abandoned or unnavigable canals in England[edit]

Canal County Length (miles) Locks Opened Closed
Andover Canal Hampshire 22 24 1794 1859
Arbury Canals Warwickshire 6 13 1786 1819, 1973
Baybridge Canal Sussex 3.5 2 1826 1875
Beaumont Cut Essex 0.6 0 1832 1932
Bentley Canal Warwickshire 3.4 10 1845 1953
Bradford Canal West Yorkshire 3.5 10 1774 1922
Black Bear Canal Cheshire 8 1804 1965
Caistor Canal Lincolnshire 4 5 1800 1936
Cann Quarry Canal Devon 2 1825 1839
Car Dyke Lincolnshire 85 0 120 (appr) 1200 (appr)
Chard Canal Somerset 13.5 4[5] 1842 1868
Cinderford Canal Gloucestershire 1.25 0 1797 1810 ?
City Canal London 1 2 1805 1829
Coombe Hill Canal Gloucestershire 2.75 1 1796 1876
Charnwood Forest Canal Leicestershire 6 1794 1808
Cromford Canal Derbyshire 14.5 14 1794 1900
Croydon Canal London 9.25 28 1809 1836
Donnington Wood Canal Shropshire 5.5 1767 1904
Eardington Forge Canal Shropshire 0.5 1 1782 1889
Fletcher's Canal Gtr Manchester 1.5 2 1800 1952
Galton's Canal Somerset 1.4 1 1822 1897
Glastonbury Canal Somerset 14 2 1834 1854
Grand Surrey Canal London 4 1 1810 1940
Grosvenor Canal London 0.8 1 1825 1858, 1925
Hackney Canal Devon 0.6 1 1843 1928
Hollingwood Common Canal Derbyshire 2 0  ?  ?
Horncastle Canal Lincolnshire 11 12 1802 1889
Itchen Navigation Hampshire 10 17 1710 1869
Kensington Canal London 1.75 1 1828 1859, 1967
Ketley Canal East Shropshire 1.5 1[5] 1788 1880
Leominster Canal Herefordshire 18 16 1794 1858
Leven Canal Yorkshire 3.25 1 1805 1935
Liskeard and Looe Union Canal Cornwall 6 25 1828 1910
Newcastle-under-Lyme Canal Staffordshire 3.75 0 1800 1935
Newport Pagnell Canal Buckinghamshire 1.25 7 1817 1864
Nutbrook Canal Derbyshire 4.5 13 1796 1895
Oakham Canal Leicestershire 15.5 18 1802 1847
Ouse Navigation Sussex 22 19 1812 1950
Par Canal Cornwall 2.25 3 1847 1873
Parnall's Canal Cornwall 0.5 0 1720 1732
Petworth Canal Sussex 1.25 2 1795 1826
Pidcock's Canal Gloucestershire 1.5 3 1789 1845
Portsmouth and Arundel Canal Hampshire, Sussex 28 6 1823 1926
Rolle Canal[29] Devon 6 2[30] 1827 1871
Salisbury and Southampton Canal Hampshire 13[31] 16 1802 1808
Shropshire Canal Shropshire 10.5 3[5] 1791 1912
Sir John Glynne's Canal Flintshire 1 1768 1779
Sir Nigel Gresley's Canal Staffordshire 3 0 1776 1857
Stamford Canal Lincolnshire 6.5 10 1670 1863
Stover Canal Devon 1.7 5 1792 1943
Tavistock Canal Devon 4 2[5] 1803 1873
Titchfield Canal Hampshire
Tremadoc Canal Merionethshire 1.5 0 1815 1840
Ulverston Canal Cumbria 1.5 1 1796 1944
Westport Canal Somerset 3.3 1 1840 1875
Wombridge Canal East Shropshire 1.75 1[5] 1788 1921

Proposed canal routes[edit]

Active proposals[edit]

Former proposals[edit]

  • Grand Contour Canal: First proposed in 1943, was intended to connect the major industrial centres of London, Bristol, Southampton, Coventry, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Chester, Manchester, Blackburn, Bradford, Hartlepool and Newcastle.
  • London to Portsmouth canal: Proposed on several occasions, this route would utilise existing canals and rivers, with new links constructed, to provide an overland route between the cities of London and Portsmouth, removing the need to enter the English Channel.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ M=midlands, EA=East Anglia, NE=North-East etc.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j now part of the Grand Union Canal
  3. ^ Main line, incl old main line and branches
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i part of Birmingham Canal Navigations
  5. ^ a b c d e f g inclined planes
  6. ^ South Yorkshire
  7. ^ Total holdings 1929
  8. ^ never officially closed but unusable till reopened
  9. ^ 72 from Liverpool to Wigan incl Leigh branch
  10. ^ connection to Limehouse Basin 1968
  11. ^ but passage still possible
  12. ^ only 1.1m remains open making 3.7m total including the Beeston cut
  13. ^ includes Bow Back rivers
  14. ^ the river section from Bramwith to Rotherham takes boats 229’8” long and 20’ wide
  15. ^ The Middlewich branch is 70’
  16. ^ The old Chester canal from Nantwich to Ellesmere Port is 9’
  17. ^ The Radstock arm closed in 1898
  18. ^ About 0.5m only, for moorings on the Kennet and Avon canal
  19. ^ also known as the Gravesend and Rochester Canal
  20. ^ Preston brook to Croxton Aqueduct is 9’ wide
  21. ^ a b Increased to 13' in 1933
  22. ^ includes Arun Navigation
  23. ^ also known as Tyrone Navigation
  24. ^ Originally the Ballyconnell andl Ballinamore Canals
  25. ^ an inclined plane was later used
  26. ^ originally known as “Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal”
  27. ^ includes the Falkirk Wheel
  28. ^ includes 3 inclined planes
  29. '^ Also known as the Torrington Canal
  30. ^ included an inclined plane
  31. ^ only part of this was built
  32. ^ "Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway". Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  33. ^ "The Fens Waterways Link". Environment Agency Waterways Team. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  34. ^ "IWAAC Inland Waterway review 2006" (PDF). Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on July 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  35. ^ "The Maidenhead River Project". Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  36. ^ "Upper Avon Extension (Proposed)". Inland Waterways Association. Archived from the original on May 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-23.