Waterways in the United Kingdom is a link page for any waterway, river, canal, firth or estuary in the United Kingdom.
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Broad distinctions are useful to avoid ambiguity, and disambiguation will be of varying importance depending on the nuance of the equivalent word in other languages. A first distinction is necessary between maritime shipping routes and waterways used by inland water craft. Maritime shipping routes cross oceans and seas, and some lakes, where navigability is assumed, and no engineering is required, except to provide the draft for deep-sea shipping to approach seaports (channels), or to provide a short cut across an isthmus; this is the function of ship canals. Dredged channels in the sea are not usually described as waterways. There is an exception to this initial distinction, essentially for legal purposes, see under international waters.
A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.
Canals, or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles.
Navigable aqueducts are bridge structures that carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or roads. They are primarily distinguished by their size, carrying a larger cross-section of water than most water-supply aqueducts. Although Roman aqueducts were sometimes used for transport, aqueducts were not generally used until the 17th century when the problems of summit level canals had been solved and modern canal systems were developed. The 662-metre (2,172 ft) long steel Briare aqueduct carrying the Canal latéral à la Loire over the River Loire was built in 1896. It was ranked as the longest navigable aqueduct in the world for more than a century, until the Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany took the title in the early 21st century.
A body of water, such as a river, canal or lake, is navigable if it is deep, wide and slow enough for a vessel to pass or walk. Preferably there are few obstructions such as rocks or trees to avoid. Bridges must have sufficient clearance. High water speed may make a channel unnavigable. Waters may be unnavigable because of ice, particularly in winter. Navigability depends on context: A small river may be navigable by smaller craft, such as a motorboat or a kayak, but unnavigable by a cruise ship. Shallow rivers may be made navigable by the installation of locks that increase and regulate water depth, or by dredging.
A Waterway society is a society, association, charitable trust, club, trust or "Friends" group involved in the restoration, preservation, use and enjoyment of waterways, e.g. a canal, river, navigation or other waterway, and their associated buildings and structures, e.g. locks, tunnels, etc.
See Rivers of the United Kingdom for a list of the rivers of the United Kingdom, organised geographically.
The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Major navigable rivers include the Humber, Mersey, Yorkshire Ouse, Severn, Thames and Trent. Some minor navigable rivers may be classified as canals. Others include the Warwickshire Avon, the Bristol Avon.
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal rivers Ouse and Trent. From there to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank and North Lincolnshire on the south bank. Although the Humber is an estuary from the point at which it is formed, many maps show it as the River Humber.
The River Mersey is a river in the North West of England. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon language and translates as "boundary river". The river may have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and for centuries it formed part of the boundary between the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.
The River Ouse is a river in North Yorkshire, England. Hydrologically, the river is a continuation of the River Ure, and the combined length of the River Ure and River Ouse makes it, at 129 miles (208 km), the sixth longest river of the United Kingdom and the longest to flow entirely in one county. The length of the Ouse alone is about 52 miles (84 km).
See also articles on the Subterranean rivers of London, and the Jubilee River, which, although man-made, was designed to look and act like a natural river rather than a canal.
The subterranean or underground rivers of London are the tributaries of the River Thames and River Lea that were built over during the growth of the metropolis of London. The rivers now flow through underground culverts.
The Jubilee River is a hydraulic channel in southern England. It is 11.6 km (7.2 mi) long and is on average 45 metres wide. It was constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s to take overflow from the River Thames and so alleviate flooding to areas in and around the towns of Maidenhead, Windsor, and Eton in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It achieves this by taking water from the left bank of the Thames upstream of Boulter's Lock near Maidenhead and returning it via the north bank downstream of Eton, Berkshire. Although successful in its stated aims, residents of villages downstream claim it has increased flooding.
See Canals of the United Kingdom for a list of the canals of Great Britain organised alphabetically by country, and lists of abandoned and future canal routes.
Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.
Likewise, see Canals of Ireland, which covers both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Inland waterways in the United Kingdom .|
The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system. Its main line starts in London and ends in Birmingham, stretching for 137 miles (220 km) with 166 locks. It has arms to places including Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton.
British Waterways, often shortened to BW, was a statutory corporation wholly owned by the government of the United Kingdom. It served as the navigation authority for the majority of canals and a number of rivers and docks in England, Scotland and Wales.
Waterway restoration is the activity of restoring a canal or river, including special features such as warehouse buildings, locks, boat lifts, and boats. In the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, the focus of waterway restoration is on improving navigability, while in Australia the term may also include improvements to water quality. (For water quality improvement activity in the US and UK see stream restoration.)
The River Avon or Avon is located in central England, flowing generally southwestwards; it is a major left-bank tributary of the River Severn, of which it is the easternmost tributary system. It is also known as the Warwickshire Avon or Shakespeare's Avon, to distinguish it from several other rivers of the same name in the United Kingdom.
The Kennet and Avon Canal is a waterway in southern England with an overall length of 87 miles (140 km), made up of two lengths of navigable river linked by a canal. The name is commonly used to refer to the entire length of the navigation rather than solely to the central canal section. From Bristol to Bath the waterway follows the natural course of the River Avon before the canal links it to the River Kennet at Newbury, and from there to Reading on the River Thames. In all, the waterway incorporates 105 locks.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is a canal in the south Midlands of England. The canal, which was built between 1793 and 1816, runs for 25.5 miles (41.0 km) in total, and consists of two sections. The dividing line is at Kingswood Junction, which gives access to the Grand Union Canal. Following acquisition by a railway company in 1856, it gradually declined, the southern section being un-navigable by 1945, and the northern section little better.
The Chesterfield Canal is a narrow canal in the East Midlands of England and it is known locally as 'Cuckoo Dyke'. It was one of the last of the canals designed by James Brindley, who died while it was being constructed. It was opened in 1777 and ran for 46 miles (74 km) from the River Trent at West Stockwith, Nottinghamshire to Chesterfield, Derbyshire, passing through the Norwood Tunnel at Kiveton Park, at the time one of the longest tunnels on the British canal system. The canal was built to export coal, limestone, and lead from Derbyshire, iron from Chesterfield, and corn, deals, timber, groceries and general merchandise into Derbyshire. The stone for the Palace of Westminster was quarried in North Anston, Rotherham, and transported via the canal.
The British canal system of water transport played a vital role in the United Kingdom's Industrial Revolution at a time when roads were only just emerging from the medieval mud and long trains of packhorses were the only means of "mass" transit by road of raw materials and finished products. The UK was the first country to develop a nationwide canal network.
The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is an inland waterway in northern England. It runs just under 20 miles (32 km) from Lock 1E at the rear of the University of Huddersfield campus, near Aspley Basin in Huddersfield, to the junction with the Ashton Canal at Whitelands Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne. It crosses the Pennines by means of 74 locks and the Standedge Tunnel.
The Union Canal, full name the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal, is a canal in Scotland, running from Falkirk to Edinburgh, constructed to bring minerals, especially coal, to the capital. It was opened in 1822 and was initially successful, but the construction of railways, particularly the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, which opened in 1842, diminished its value as a transport medium. It fell into slow commercial decline and was closed to commercial traffic in 1933. It was officially closed in 1965. The canal is listed as three individual Scheduled monuments by Historic Scotland according to the three former counties, Midlothian (Edinburghshire), West Lothian (Linlithgowshire) and Stirlingshire, through which it flows.
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal is a canal linking Birmingham and Worcester in England. It starts in Worcester, as an 'offshoot' of the River Severn and ends in Gas Street Basin in Birmingham. It is 29 miles (47 km) long. There are 58 locks in total on the canal, including the 30 Tardebigge Locks, one of the largest lock flights in Europe. The canal climbs 428 feet (130 m) from Worcester to Birmingham.
The canals of the United Kingdom are a major part of the network of inland waterways in the United Kingdom. They have a colourful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role of recreational boating. Despite a period of abandonment, today the canal system in the United Kingdom is again in increasing use, with abandoned and derelict canals being reopened, and the construction of some new routes. Most canals in England and Wales are maintained by the Canal & River Trust, previously British Waterways, but a minority of canals are privately owned.
A navigation authority is a company or statutory body which is concerned with the management of a navigable canal or river.
Voies navigables de France is the French navigation authority responsible for the management of the majority of France's inland waterways network and the associated facilities—towpaths, commercial and leisure ports, lock-keeper's houses and other structures. VNF was established in 1991 and took over the responsibility for all waterways from the National Office of Navigation in 1993. It is a public body and is under the control of the Minister of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Territorial Development. The headquarters of VNF are in Béthune, Pas-de-Calais with local offices throughout France.
This article is a collection of lists of natural and artificial waterways.