WikiProject United Kingdom Waterways
Mainland Britain has between 3,000 and 4,000 miles of waterways that are commonly considered "navigable" by powered boats. Added to this are numerous derelict canals which can still be traced on the ground, and also many, many more miles of canoeable rivers (see also WikiProject Whitewater Maps). Many of the derelict canals or lost river navigations are active restoration projects with over 600 miles (>960km) having already been restored to navigation since the major restoration movement started in the 1960's.
Mapping the waterway system involves judgements such as:
- Is it a canal, a freshwater river, or a tidal river?
- Is it navigable by powered craft?
- Is there a towpath? (On which side? Is it open/suitable for cyclists? Where are the access points?)
- Where are the locks and bridges? (In which direction do the locks rise? What are the limiting dimensions of these structures?)
Mapping derelict and abandoned canals also requires assessing the state of the remaining evidence. The line of a past canal can often be determined even if it is filled in through the line of the towpath, remains of locks, a slight depression in the ground, or remaining bridges. Most restoration projects endeavour to restore the canal on the original line, only proposing diversions where the route is irretrievably lost through new development.
A tagging scheme is listed at Key:waterway. Key:boat, Key:lock (and/or Key:lock_gate on individual nodes), Key:leisure, Key:mooring and Key:tunnel are also relevant. Key:historic can also be relevant to abandoned canals.
Progress to date
Ito also offer several views of OSM waterways including canals and navigations.
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||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|
|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.|
|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.|
|Fens Waterways Link||10%||Project to connect navigable waterways in south Lincolnshire & Cambridgeshire (currently in progress)|
|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|
|Leeds & Liverpool Canal||90%||Walton Summit Branch closed; link to Albert Dock being built|
|Llangollen Canal||100%||Prees Branch may be shorter|
|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|
|River Ouse (Yorkshire)|
|Rochdale Canal||Fully restored, some locks/channel resited (e.g. Tuel Lane, M60, M62)|
|Sheffield & S Yorks Navigation||Significantly rebuilt in 1970s/80s|
|Shropshire Union Canal||100%|
|Staffs & Worcs Canal||90%|
|River Medway||90%||At Least 2||Needs Proper Survey|
|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.|
|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)
- 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)
|Waterway||Line||Locks||Bridges||Notes||Changes since NPE|
|Rivers Welland & Glen||100%||2?|
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).
- 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
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)
Wikipedia has a special WikiProject for waterways in UK: WikiProject_UK_Waterways. Maybe we can work together.