Abandoned canals in the UK

13th June 2022

The canals used to be a central part of Britain – responsible for transporting mass goods from one city to another. However, with the rise of the railways, investment in the canals slowly started to decline, causing them to deteriorate. In this blog, we will be reminiscing about the canals of bygone eras and how they met their timely abandonment.

Britain’s lost canals

Grantham Canal

Since its closing in 1929, the Grantham canal has mainly been reclaimed by nature. This canal was built during the height of canal mania and was abandoned by its company, London and North Eastern Railways, during the height of the railway.

Grantham Canal is now a stunning wetland habitat, home to much wildlife and running through the landscape of Vale of Belvoir

Cromford Canal

This historic canal used to run for 14.5 canals from Cromford to Langley Mill. Built by William Jessop, this canal used to play a pivotal role in the industrial revolution.

Today, this canal can be seen on the Derbyshire canal walk – however, this derelict canal has plans to be restored as many investors are keen to restore it to what it once was. We look forward to seeing the work being done!

Montgomery Canal

The Montgomery Canal runs a staggering 38 miles, starting at a junction with the Llangollen Canal – however, much of the canal is not possible to navigate. The canal was officially abandoned in 1944 and was actually one of the first canals that was intended to be restored in the 1960s. However, progress has been quite slow, with work still being done today.

Bradford Canal

This canal has quite the history – opening in 1744, the canal was used to connect the city to Leeds and Liverpool. The canal was first closed in 1866, when it was deemed a public health hazard – however, four years later, the canal was reopened with a more sufficient water supply.

Yet, like many other canals – it was closed again following the railway boom. There have been plans to restore Bradford canals, however – progress is yet to be made.

Canal restoration

Fewer and fewer canals are remaining as the abandoned bodies of water they once were, with big regeneration projects happening since the 60s. People can now enjoy both the history and wildlife that many UK canals bring.

Interested in exploring Britain’s canals? Check out our waterway holidays today. Or contact our team for more information now!

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