Portal:UK Waterways

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UK Waterways

The United Kingdom is home to a vast network of waterways. These are navigable bodies of water in various forms such as canals, rivers and lakes.

Natural rivers and lakes were the first waterways to be used for the transportation of people and goods. These were then improved to make navigation more reliable, by the construction of artificial channels and flash locks. The introduction of the pound lock enabled more ambitious waterways to be built. The Industrial Revolution required the transport of large quantities of raw materials and finished goods, and this led to a period of 'canal mania' which saw the construction of a large network of canals in the United Kingdom.

Competition, first from railways and later from road transport, started the decline of many canal and river navigations, leading in some cases to their abandonment. The latter half of the twentieth century saw the development of recreational boating and the restoration of many disused waterways.

Selected article

The Trent and Mersey Canal is a canal in northern England linking the River Trent at Derwent Mouth to the River Mersey at Runcorn. The final link northwards to the Mersey was made via a section of the Bridgewater Canal (the locks that connected to the Mersey were filled in in the 1960s).

Main article: Trent and Mersey Canal

Selected picture

FalkirkWheelSide 2004 SeanMcClean.jpg

The Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift, opened in 2002, and is the first boat lift to be built in the UK since the Anderton Boat Lift in 1875.

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Did you know?

  • …that the Barnsley Canal Transfer Act of 1871, which authorised the takeover of the canal by the Aire and Calder Navigation, also authorised them to replace ten of the twelve Walton locks by an inclined plane, and although these powers were renewed in 1889, no construction took place?

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