Portal:UK waterways

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UK waterways

An aqueduct in Wales

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.

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Devizes wharf.JPG
The Kennet and Avon Canal is a canal in southern England linking the River Avon at Bath to the River Kennet at Newbury. The name refers to the Kennet and Avon Canal Company and the canal follows its original route. In effect, it links up the River Thames at Reading to the Floating Harbour in Bristol, via the rivers. The whole navigation is 87 miles (140km) in length.

Main article: Kennet and Avon Canal

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Brimscombe bridge.jpg
Bridge over the derelict Thames and Severn Canal at Brimscombe, Gloucestershire, England.

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Did you know?

  • …that the River Don Navigation was the subject of one of the last major attempts in the UK to attract commercial freight to the waterways when it was upgraded to the 700-tonne Eurobarge standard in 1983?

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