The Seven Wonders of the Waterways

The ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’ list was compiled by the author and co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association, Robert Aickman, and was published in his 1950’s book Know Your Waterways.  The list still stands as a guide to some the most spectacular canal structures on Britain’s canal network today.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – carrying the Llangollen Canal 38 metres above the River Dee, the amazing World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the highest and longest aqueduct in Britain. Built between 1795 and 1805, it has 18 massive stone piers, supporting a 300-metre long trough for the canal to run through.  Our nearest canal boat holiday starting points are at Trevor, Chirk and Blackwater Meadow.

The Anderton Boat Lift – also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’ this extraordinary structure raises boats 15 metres from the River Weaver up to the Trent & Mersey Canal. Designed by Edwin Clark and opened in 1875, it consists of two caissons, each large enough to take a pair of narrowboats.  Our nearest canal boat holiday starting points are at Anderton and Acton Bridge.

The Caen Hill Flight – with 16 of its 29 locks falling in a straight line, the Caen Hill flight of locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Devizes in Wiltshire is visually the most impressive in the country. The locks raise or lower boats by 72 metres over two miles and it takes around six hours to travel through them. Our nearest canal boat holiday starting points are at Devizes and Hilperton.

The Bingley Five-Rise Locks – completed in 1774, this spectacular staircase of locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal 17 miles from Leeds, raises (or lowers) boats 18 metres in five enormous chambers. The locks open directly from one to another, with the top gate of one forming the bottom gate of the next.  Our nearest canal boat holiday starting points are at Barnoldswick and Silsden.

The Standedge Tunnel – tunnelling for over three miles beneath the Pennines, this incredible feat of canal engineering is the longest, highest and deepest tunnel on the canal system. Cutting through solid rock, it took the canal builders 16 years to construct, finally opening in 1811.  Today boaters need to book their passage though in advance with the Canal & River Trust.  Our nearest canal boat holiday starting points are at Sowerby Bridge and Barnoldswick.

Barton Swing Aqueduct – opening in 1983 and weighing at titanic 1,450 tonnes, the 100-metre long Barton Swing Aqueduct swings open to allow the passage of ships along the Manchester Ship Canal. Our nearest canal boat holiday starting point is at Acton Bridge.

The Burnley Embankment – also known as ‘The Straight Mile’, the mile-long Burnley Embankment carries the Leeds & Liverpool Canal over 18 metres high above part of the town of Burnley, offering boaters breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Our nearest canal boat holiday starting point is at Barnoldswick.

        Start Points – Click on any Start location to view all of the local routes available

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circular cruising rings for canal boat holidays
Visit the canals and inland waterways of England
Cruising rings and circular routes for canal boat and narrowboat holidays.

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