Canals

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright December 2010, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


A collection of shared descriptions relating to the British and Irish canal system.
Add your shared description.External link

SD7400 : Bridgewater Canal Footbridge, Worsley by David Dixon


Shared Description used on 108 images
Narrowboats by Oast House Archive
A Narrowboat is a long thin boat, designed to fit the canals of England and Wales. They were 7 feet (2.1 metres) wide, and up to 70 feet (21 metres) in length, the maximum that will fit in a standard lock.



In the 18th century before the age of steam railways and the internal combustion engines, the canals were one of the key systems of transporting goods around the country. The boats were towed by a shire horse walking along the tow-path. Of course boats today are powered by diesel engines.



Most narrowboats today are used for holidays & leisure cruising, and some are used as homes.



Read more at wikipedia LinkExternal link


TQ2581 : Narrowboat on the Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch by Oast House Archive


Shared Description used on 187 images
Accommodation Bridges by Roger Kidd
When the canals (or railways) were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, they were often routed in such a way that farmers and other landowners had their land bisected, so bridges had to be provided to allow access to fields on both sides of the canal. These bridges are frequently referred to as accommodation bridges, and however solid and well constructed, often don't lead anywhere except from one field to another.



SO9161 : Approaching Hammond's Bridge near Hadzor, Worcestershire by Roger  Kidd


The Canals


Shared Description used on 71 images
Kennet & Avon Canal by Oast House Archive
The Kennet and Avon is made up of two river navigations and a linking stretch of canal. It runs from Hanham Lock near Bristol to the River Thames at Reading, over 100 miles long with more than 100 locks, some magnificent engineering and crossing some of the most beautiful scenery in southern England. It was only reopened in 1990 after decades of dereliction.


SU4767 : Kennet & Avon Canal, Newbury by Oast House Archive


Shared Description used on 8 images
Caen Hill Locks by Oast House Archive
A group of 16 individual locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal near Devizes. The locks are part of total of 29 locks within a 2mile stretch. It takes around 5 hours to travel through all 29 locks on a boat.


ST9761 : Caen Hill Locks by Oast House Archive


Shared Description used on 76 images
Exeter Canal by N Chadwick
Built in the 1560, this is one of the oldest canals in Britain. It was built to allow the port of Exeter access to the sea, bypassing the Quay downstream at Topsham. LinkExternal link


SX9390 : The lock by the Double Locks Hotel by N Chadwick


Shared Description used on 37 images
Penshurst Canal by N Chadwick
A history of this canal can be read at LinkExternal link

The only parts that can still be found are in Haysden Country Park (The Straight Mile and Stone Lock).


TQ5746 : Stone Lock, Haysden Country Park by N Chadwick


Shared Description used on 4 images
Chichester Ship Canal by David Dixon
The Chichester Canal is part of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal which linked with other rivers and canals to form an inland waterway route between London and Portsmouth. The Portsmouth and Arundel canal was opened in 1822 and remained in operation as a through route until 1855.



The Chichester section between the harbour and the city was constructed as a ship canal allowing passage for vessels of up to 85 feet in length and 18 feet in width, weighing up to 100 tons. Traffic never reached the expected levels, and ceased entirely after 1906.



After this time, the canal fell in to disrepair and was blocked in 1924/5 to prevent further navigation but sections have recently been restored by The Chichester Ship Canal Trust.



SU8501 : Crosbie Bridge by David Dixon


Shared Description used on 6 images
Charnwood Forest Canal by Ian Calderwood
The canal was a failure, completed in 1794 but derelict by the early 1800s. When it opened, the expected volume of traffic in coal and limestone did not appear and it was only ever lightly used. When the dam of Blackbrook reservoir collapsed in 1799, the end was in sight. The dam was repaired and the canal was returned to navigation but what little traffic there had been did not return. The canal was not formally abandoned until 1846 but only because the canal company was too broke to pay for the act of parliament.


SK4218 : Dry Canal Bed by Ian Calderwood


Shared Description used on 29 images
Chichester canal by Paul Gillett
What is known today as the Chichester Canal is in fact part of the former Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. This was opened in 1823.



In the late 1970s the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the canal. By the late 1990s they had reached the junction at Hunston and were working westwards along the main line towards Salterns.



However as work progressed further, the silting became worse, and by the time restoration reached the culverted Crosbie Bridge at Donnington where the road bridge currently forms a barrier to further progress.



LinkExternal link



SU8504 : Chichester Canal wharf by Paul Gillett


Shared Description used on 152 images
Royal Military Canal by David Anstiss
The Royal Military Canal stretches for 28 miles hugging the old cliff line that borders the Romney Marsh from Hythe in the north east to Cliff End in the south west. It was built as a third line of defence against Napoleon, after the British Royal Navy patrolling the English Channel and the line of 74 Martello Towers built along the south coast. The Royal Military Canal was constructed in two sections. The longest section starts at Hythe in Kent and ends at Iden Lock in East Sussex. The second smaller section runs from the foot of Winchelsea Hill to Cliff End. Both sections are linked by the Rivers Rother and Brede.



See LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link for more details


TR0233 : Royal Military Canal to Bilsington by David Anstiss


Shared Description used on 3 images
Wapping Western Docks Canal by Paul Gillett
The £1.77 million Wapping Wood and Western Docks Canal scheme provided not only a strong visual link through the heart of Wapping but also introduced a pedestrian route, with access to the parks, schools and shopping facilities that would be developed.

LinkExternal link


TQ3480 : Wapping Western Docks Canal by Paul Gillett


Shared Description used on 10 images
North Wilts branch Wilts and Berks canal by Brian Robert Marshall
Written by Brian Robert Marshall



From wbct.org.uk:



"The North Wilts Canal was nine miles long and had twelve locks. With aqueducts over the River Ray and the Upper Thames, and a short tunnel near Cricklade, it was opened on 2nd April 1819, linking the Wilts & Berks Canal at Swindon to the Thames & Severn Canal at Latton. This provided an alternative route for trading boats enabling them to avoid the difficult Thames Navigation above Abingdon. However, the W & B always proved of limited economic value; the Kennet and Avon, built as a wide canal offering passage for 14 feet beam boats (compared to the W & B narrowboats with only a seven feet beam) provided a shorter, speedier and more economic route to the London market."


SU1385 : Pond, Cheney Manor Trading Estate, Swindon (7) by Brian Robert Marshall


Shared Description used on 159 images
Wey and Arun Canal by N Chadwick
The Wey and Arun Canal is a 23-mile-long canal in the south of England, between the River Wey at Shalford, Surrey and the River Arun at Pallingham, in West Sussex.

Passing through a rural landscape, there was little freight traffic to justify its continued existence, and the canal was officially abandoned in 1871.

Without maintenance, the canal gradually became derelict over much of its length. However, since 1970, active restoration by The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has resulted in several miles of the waterway being restored to navigable standard. Work is continuing, with the ultimate aim of re-opening the entire canal to navigation.

LinkExternal link

Part of the River Wey navigations. LinkExternal link LinkExternal link


TQ0341 : The Downs Link crosses the Wey Arun Canal by N Chadwick


Shared Description used on 475 images
Basingstoke Canal by Paul Gillett
The Basingstoke Canal can be found in Southern England between the village of Greywell in Hampshire and Woodham in Surrey. It was built between 1788 and 1794 and is 32 miles long with 29 locks. After many years of restoration it's now fully navigable, and connects to the River Wey Navigation, which in turn joins the River Thames LinkExternal link


SU7451 : Colt Hill Bridge by Paul Gillett


Shared Description used on 0 images
Mouldon Lock, Wilts & Berks Canal (North Wilts Branch) by Vieve Forward
Mouldon Lock, on the disused North Wilts branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal, was the lowest of the flight of three Moredon Locks. The North Wilts branch formerly connected the main Wilts & Berks Canal with the Thames and Severn Canal, and ran between Rushey Platt and Latton. This lock was restored, except for its gates, in 1988. LinkExternal link LinkExternal link


Shared Description used on 2 images
Oxford Canal by N Chadwick
The Oxford Canal is a 78 mile long canal, linking Oxford with Coventry via Banbury and Rugby. It connects with the River Thames at Oxford, to the Grand Union Canal at the villages of Braunston and Napton-on-the-Hill, and to the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction in Bedworth just north of Coventry.





SP5473 : The Oxford Canal by N Chadwick


Shared Description used on 95 images
Sheffield and Tinsley Canal by Paul Gillett
The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal was opened in 1814 to carry boats between the navigable River Don at Tinsley and a new basin close to the heart of Sheffield. Before this date, goods had to be carried over poor roads to Tinsley Wharf on the River Don. LinkExternal link

See also LinkExternal link


SK3990 : Lock on Sheffield & Tinsley Canal by Paul Gillett


KML

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