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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The Mullicourt aqueduct where the Well Creek crosses the main drain

The Middle Level Navigations are a network of about 120 miles (190 km) of waterways in England, primarily used for land drainage, of which 100 miles (160 km) are navigable. They provide a route between the River Nene at Peterborough and Cambridge on the River Great Ouse. Water levels are maintained by a pumping station at Wiggenhall St Germans, currently being re-constructed, which will contain the second biggest pumps in Europe and a glass wall to enable visitors to see them.

Main article: Middle Level Navigations

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  • …that the Royal Military Canal was built as a defence against Napoleon, and has since been used to control smuggling and as a defence during World War II?

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