Canals of the United Kingdom

Canals Of The United Kingdom

Canals of the United Kingdom

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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 for 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.

History of commercial carrying

Canals first saw use during the Roman occupation of the south of Great Britain, and were used mainly for irrigation. The Romans also created several navigable canals, such as Foss Dyke, to link rivers, enabling increased transport inland by water.

The United Kingdom's navigable water network grew as the demand for industrial transport increased. The canals were key to the pace of the Industrial Revolution: roads at the time were unsuitable for large volumes of traffic. A system of very large pack horse trains had developed, but few roads were suitable for wheeled vehicles able to transport large amounts of materials (especially fragile manufactured goods such as pottery) quickly. Canal boats were very much quicker, could carry large volumes, and were much safer for fragile items. Following the success of the Bridgewater Canal, other canals were constructed between industrial centres, cities and ports, and were soon transporting raw materials...
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