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How deep are canals in the UK

21st September 2020

The average UK canal depth varies from canal to canal, and lock to lock. However, most of the UK’s canals were initially constructed to take fully-laden freight carrying vessels of six-foot draft – as, originally, canal boats were in fact horse-drawn. Learn more about the history of canal boats in the UK from our detailed guide.

Although the depth of canals varies throughout the nation, there are some locks that you can experience on your next ABC Boat Hire holiday that are famous for being the deepest locks in the UK:

Where is the deepest canal lock in the UK?

Tuel Lane Lock

The deepest single canal lock in the UK is Tuel Lane Lock. Located near Halifax on the Rochdale Canal, the Tuel Lane Lock is the deepest in the United Kingdom – with a 6-metre difference between the highest and lowest point of water. Built in 1996, this lock was created during the restoration of the Rochdale Canal in order to replace a pair of less efficient locks from the original construction – so, essentially, the Tuel Lane Lock is so deep because it does the work of originally two locks. As the water is so deep, the boat crews are not permitted to operate the lock mechanism themselves – instead, the lock keeper of the Canal & River Trust must negotiate the gates.

You can visit this lock from ABC Boat Hire’s North Pennine Ring from Reedley Marina – this route is 21 nights in total with a cruising time of 6 hours per day. This journey covers the beautiful Pennines, following five canals along the way and passing three of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways – the Barton Swing Aqueduct, The Burnley Embankment and the Bingley Five-Rise lock staircase.

Bath Deep Lock

The second deepest canal lock in the UK, Bath Deep Lock, is only slightly shallower than Tuel Lane Lock – coming in at 5.92m. Following a similar history, this lock was also constructed to replace two locks which were working ineffectively. You can visit the Bath Deep Lock from our Bath and Return from Hilperton Marina – and, unlike the Tuel Lane Lock, this lock is operated manually. On this route, you can experience a journey quietly shadowing the River Avon while crossing historic aqueducts.

For more information on the UK canals' depth, get in touch with a member of our helpful team. Alternatively, browse our selection of canal boat holidays and canal locations now to find your next holiday.

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