United Kingdom waterways/Progress

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This page is archived from an earlier version of WikiProject United Kingdom Waterways and may not reflect the current state of the map.

Navigable Waterways and Restoration Projects (inc Proposed New Waterways) - England/Wales system

The main connected waterway system in England is roughly south of a Lancaster-Ripon-Hull line, and north of a Bristol-Reading-London line - though there are a few extensions in either direction. It extends a little way into the Welsh borders. There are many more 'isolated' waterways, particularly around the coast.

Waterway Line Locks Notes Changes since NPE
Aire & Calder Navigation Some small diversions due to mining
Ashby Canal 50% 1 Historic line north of Snarestone added using historic=canal Northern section under restoration (inc. new lock).
Ashton Canal 100% 18 Stockport and Hollinwood branches complete as waterway=derelict_canal or disused=yes. Built over sections tagged historic=canal.
River Avon (Warwickshire) 100% Only rough line so far, gradually going through and refining based on GPS track
Aylsham Navigation 100% 5 aka Upper Bure Navigation. Abandoned river navigation with canal sections not repaired after major floods in 1912. Some new, hopefully intuitive, tags used here chosen so as not to affect existing renderers: waterway=river + disused=navigation for abandoned sections of river that used to be navigable, and waterway=river + disused=canal for canal sections that are now carrying the main river flow.
Barnsley, Dearne & Dove Canals 100% Restoration project. Some sections still in water, some derelict and some built over and new routes have been proposed.
Basingstoke Canal 29 All locks corrected and tagged with lock_ref=#. Towpath mostly all tagged with towpath=yes. Unnavigable from Greywell west
Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway 50% New waterway. Parts tagged waterway=proposed but needs someone familiar with the proposed route to complete.
Birmingham & Fazeley Canal 100%
Birmingham Canal Navigations Many sections now unnavigable. maxdraught=0?
Bradford Canal Proposed for restoration by Bradford City Council as part of a canal corridor redevelopment. Not much evidence on the ground although one or two bridges remain. Tagged as historic=canal.
Bridgewater Canal Line of Runcorn Locks (Old Locks) tagged as historic=canal. Restoration project.
Bude Canal 100% 6 inclined planes Mapped from old maps and Bing using historic=canal for dry sections and historic=inclined_plane for the tub boat inclined planes. 2 mile section from Bude still in water and restored. It is proposed to make some sections into a walk as the inclined planes make restoration impractical.
Calder & Hebble Navigation
Caldon Canal 30% End of Leek branch unnavigable
River Cam
Chesterfield Canal 100% Chesterfield-Norwood is an active restoration project with some 5 miles already restored and the rest of the line mapped as waterway=derelict_canal or disused=yes Norwood Tunnel mostly collapsed due to mining subsidence.
Chichester Ship Canal Mostly navigable but a couple of low bridges prevent through navigation from Chichester basin to the sea.
Coventry Canal 100%
Cotswolds Canals 100% aka Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal. Could do with an local survey to determine if derelict (dry) vs disused is accurately tagged. Restoration progressing rapidly around Stroud!
Cromford Canal 100% 14 Mostly disused/derelict although much of the Cromford end still in water and has been used for trip boats. 7 locks at Ironville tagged. Pinxton Arm line also mapped - mostly waterway=derelict_canal or historic=canal. Unusual feature is a new channel created to temporarily divert the Erewash River during opencast mining. Its construction will allow conversion to navigation it is planned to use it to replace a length of canal destroyed by the mining. It has been named the "Smotherfly Wide". Tagged as waterway=canal + disused=no:isolated pending better suggestions!
Derby & Sandiacre Canal 100% Most of the line is waterway=derelict_canal and is protected for restoration but a new line is proposed waterway=proposed where historic line has been built over.
River Derwent Stamford Bridge is limit of navigation
Driffield Navigation 100% 4 Top few miles blocked by low level bridge at Wansford. Canal above this point tagged as waterway=canal + disused=no:isolated. Most of the navigation is river.
Erewash Canal
Fens Waterways Link 10% Project to connect navigable waterways in south Lincolnshire & Cambridgeshire (currently in progress)
Fossdyke Navigation
Gloucester & Sharpness Canal 100% New route around southern bypass
Grand Union Canal 90%
Grand Union Buckingham Arm 100% Mostly derelict or historic where overbuilt.
Grand Union Leicester Line
Grand Union Wendover Arm 100% Active restoration project. Much of the canal still in water as it was used as a feeder and therefore tagged disused=yes. Section under restoration marked as waterway=derelict_canal as it is currently dry. The first mile or so from the GU has been restored to navigation.
River Great Ouse New Relief Channel etc.
Hereford & Gloucester Canal 100% Various sections under restoration. Some small parts overbuilt and will need to be re-routed. Much currently tagged as historic=canal.
Huddersfield Narrow Canal Fully restored, some locks resited
Kennet and Avon Canal 100%
Kyme Eau / Sleaford Navigation 100% 2 functional
Lancaster Canal Ribble Link now built; mostly unnavigable Tewitfield-Kendal
River Lee
Leeds & Liverpool Canal 90% Walton Summit Branch closed; link to Albert Dock being built
Llangollen Canal 100% Prees Branch may be shorter
Macclesfield Canal
Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal 100% Under restoration. A small section off the River Irwell in Middlewood was opened in 2008.
Manchester Ship Canal
Middle Level Navigations
Montgomery Canal 30% Under restoration, several sections closed
Oxford Canal 100% Old 'loop' arms generally no longer navigable
Peak Forest Canal
Pocklington Canal 50% Unnavigable above Melbourne
Portsmouth & Arundel Canal 100% Although alot of it is dry most of its former route can clearly be seen on Bing. Unnavigable above Melbourne
Regents Canal
River Nene
River Ouse (Yorkshire)
Rochdale Canal Fully restored, some locks/channel resited (e.g. Tuel Lane, M60, M62)
River Severn
Sheffield & S Yorks Navigation Significantly rebuilt in 1970s/80s
Shropshire Union Canal 100%
Staffs & Worcs Canal 90%
River Stort
Stourbridge Canal
Stratford Canal 100%
River Thames
River Medway 90% At Least 2 Needs Proper Survey
River Trent
Trent & Mersey Canal 90%
Uttoxeter Canal 100% A short section near Froghall has been restored. Much of the rest was used as the route of a railway line although this is also now defunct. Mostly tagged as historic=canal as over built although some loops are clearly visible on Bing and could be tagged as waterway=derelict_canal with evidence from a local survey.
River Weaver
River Wey
Wey & Arun Canal 100% Extensive restoration has taken place around Loxwood. Northern section from Bramley to Shalford largely built over and therefore tagged historic=canal.
River Witham 100% Only rough line based on Landsat/Yahoo/NPE
Witham Navigable Drains 100% 2 Complete but tagging for navigation/routing needs improving
Wilts & Berks Canal 80% Under Restoration - non-navigable sections marked as derelict
Worcester & Birmingham Canal 100% Small realignment around M42
  • River Thames is marked through London, and some bits through Oxford. See the River Thames page for details
  • Oxford Canal done around Oxford, and the parts that have a cycle route along them (perhaps 40-50%)
  • Wey Navigation from the Thames to New Haw is done 80n 23:48, 24 Aug 2006 (BST)
  • Basingstoke Canal from New Haw to Woking is done 80n 23:48, 24 Aug 2006 (BST). Locks updated and tagged with numbers, towpath tagged. --Jmbatchelor (talk) 14:35, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
  • River Severn from the coast to source(?). Some riverbanks (inaccurately) marked around Shrewsbury. Higgy 11:25, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Regent's canal connected Camden Lock to Little Venice (through Maida Hill tunnel) -- Harry Wood 10:30, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
  • River Wey from the Thames to Byfleet is done 80n 23:48, 24 Aug 2006 (BST)
  • Rochdale Canal all locks and bridges 1 to 50 done --POHB 16:32, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Kennet and Avon Canal. bridges updated and relation created. --wessexmario 23:00, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Wilts & Berks Canal. Main line completed and relation created. Calne branch completed. North Wilts branch to do. --wessexmario 23:00, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Navigable waterways (England/Wales isolated)

Waterway Line Locks Bridges Notes Changes since NPE
Rivers Welland & Glen 100% 2?

Navigable waterways (Scotland)

Scotland has its own coast-to-coast waterways, principally the Forth & Clyde and Union canals (Glasgow-Falkirk-Edinburgh) and the Caledonian Canal (Fort William-Inverness).

(add table)

  • Forth and Clyde Canal (Glasgow Spur) complete Smsm1 01:50, 1 July 2007 (BST)
  • Forth and Clyde Canal from Bowling to Croy complete (Croy to the Carron Sea Lock still to do) Smsm1 01:50, 1 July 2007 (BST)
  • Union Canal from Edinburgh to Linlithgow complete (Linlithgow to Falkirk still to complete, and small part in Edinburgh near basin to fix). Smsm1 01:50, 1 July 2007 (BST)
  • Monkland Canal completed plus canal paths, 22 April 2008 marscot
    • Gartsherrie & Hornock & Summerlee Canal Added ( well whats remains of this spur of the Monklands canal.
  • River Avon(South Lanarkshire) from Source to the Clyde completed 22 April 2008 marscot
  • River Clyde from coast to source completed marscot
  • Luggie Burn completed to the river Kelvin. 6th June 2008
  • River Kelvin from the River Clyde to Achinstary has been done. Still around 2miles to map.
  • River Tweed from Source to the coast completed 13 May 2008 marscot

You can find out more about the UK waterway system at Waterscape, British Waterways' leisure website, which used to be edited by Richard :) .


Large rivers, estuaries, and lakes are already uploaded as part of the coastline database: Almien coastlines (PGS)

Out-of-copyright maps are usually not out-of-date when it comes to the position of rivers and canals, though accuracy is limited (e.g. NPE maps available via Potlatch and JOSM/Plugins/WMSPlugin). Where available, the 1:25000-scale Provisional/First_Edition maps are much more accurate, but their coverage is very limited.

User:Steve8 did a massive amount of tracing of rivers and streams up the West coast of Wales and the lake district, using NPE maps:

This could be coordinated as a sub-project here. Getting the UK rivers mapped in, will be a great contribution towards WikiProject Whitewater Maps, which will then be aiming to refine the detail/accuracy by GPS and add whitewater section/rapid grades (as well as producing basic river maps for the rest of the world)

See also

Wikipedia has a special WikiProject for waterways in UK: WikiProject_UK_Waterways. Maybe we can work together.