Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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Waterways of Yorkshire

Navigable Rivers and Canals within Yorkshire

Turnbridge Lifting Bridge on the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

Aike Beck or Lockington Navigation

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal that was wholly within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A navigation that consisted of a stream and short cut from the River Hull.

History:

Constructed about 1798 - 1800 by the Hotham family and used to transport coal. It had two pound locks taking craft of 40 feet by 8 feet 10 inches.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire & Calder Dewsbury Old Cut Section

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The canal is entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A short arm that leaves the Aire & Calder Wakefield Section and terminates at Dewsbury Basin.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire & Calder Main Line

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire. Part 1 from Leeds Bridge to Bank Dole Junction.

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire. Part 2 from Whitley Lock No 11 to Ocean Lock No 13,the entrance Lock to Goole Docks and the junction with River Ouse.

Waterway Description:

From junction with Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Main Line, and Leeds Bridge to entrance locks to Goole Docks, junction with River Ouse.

History:

Wholly opened from Leeds to Wakefield in 1704 and to Selby in 1721.

Points of Interest:

The large locks are electrically operated, by lock keepers when commercial traffic is expected but by boaters at other times. A red light means don't enter the lock, green means enter and amber means the lock is boater operated.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Selby Section

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

This consists of a navigable length of the River Aire plus the Selby Canal and forms a link between the A&CN main line at Bank Dole and the River Ouse at Selby.

History:

Cutting of the Selby Canal started in early 1775, built by William Jessop early in his career and opened in 1778.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire & Calder Navigation - Wakefield Section

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire

Waterway Description:

Castleford Junction (main line Goole to Leeds) to Wakefield Fall Ing Lock (junction with Calder and Hebble Navigation).

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire & Dun Canal project.

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed Yorkshire canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposed canal from the Aire at Knottingley to the dutch river at Newbridge, with a branch from Norton to the Don at Doncaster.

History:

Proposed in July 1817 about the same time as the Went Canal project. The Bill for the canal was lost in the Commons in April 1819 witout a division due to the influnce of the Aire & Calder Company. Both schemes were made redundantby the Aire & calder's 1820 Act for the Goole Canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Aire and Calder Navigation and River Aire

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A collection of Yorkshire navigations. See individual waterways for more details.

Waterway Description:

A network of waterways promoted by Acts passed in 1699, 1774, 1820 and 1828. Still partly commercial waterways although there is much pleasure traffic.

Points of Interest:

A number of locks have been modernised to European standards where boatmen should observe coloured light signals.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Barnsley Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The canal is entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A broad canal of 15 miles and 20 locks from the Calder near Wakefield to Barnby Bridge, via Barnsley.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, opened in 1799 to Barnsley and 1802 to Barnby Bridge. Abandoned in 1953.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Beverley Beck

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Beverley (Yorkshire) to the River Hull, Three-quarters of a mile.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1727 and 1744. Opened in 1731.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Bradford Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A 3 miles 3 furlong broad canal from Shipley on the Leeds and Liverpool to Bradford.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1771 and opened in 1774, closed in 1867, 3 miles reopened in 1873 closed in 1922.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire, from Fall Ing Lock No 1, where it connects with the Aire and Calder Navigation (Wakefield Section), to Sowerby Bridge Basin and the junction with the Rochdale Canal.

Waterway Description:

Runs from the junction with the Aire and Calder (Wakefield Section) to Sowerby Bridge.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1758, 1769 and 1825. Opened from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge in 1770. The branch to Halifax was opened in 1828 and abandoned in 1942.

Points of Interest:

Many of the locks still use the unique Calder & Hebble handspike to raise the paddles. Make sure you have one before navigating the canal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Chesterfield Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

From Norwood, where the canal leaves Derbyshire, to Shireoaks Aqueduct, where the canal crosses into Nottinghamshire, the canal is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Now navigable for 31 miles from the River Trent at West Stockwith to the Norwood Tunnel at Kiveton Park. A further 5 mile isolated section is available for trailboats between Chesterfield and Staveley

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1771, and opened in 1777, it originally ran 45.5 miles from Chesterfield to the Trent.

Points of Interest:

Water levels are maintained by pumping. Only for topping up at Retford, the rest is by gravity.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Cod Beck

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

An unfinished canal that was entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A navigation from Thirsk to the River Swale.

History:

An Act authorising making the beck navigable by building four locks and other works was passed in 1767. Work continued until about 1770 but only one lock was completed before lack of funds halted the project.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Cottingham & Hull Canal project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed canal entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A plan to build a canal from Cottingham to Hull, about four miles away. No canal was authorised or built.

History:

A meeting to launch the project was held on 22 December 1802.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Dearne and Dove Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Swinton Junction to Barnsley Junction. Now disused.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793 and completed in 1804.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Driffield Navigation

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole river is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 7 miles from Driffield to the junction with the River Hull. Much of the waterway is unnavigable due to derelict locks and lowered bridges.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1767 and completed in 1770. Improvements were authorised by an Act of 1801 and completed in 1805.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Emmet's Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A mile long level canal built near Birkenshaw, 4 miles south-east of Bradford.

History:

Opened about 1782 not used after 1815 but some of its course can still be traced.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Greasbrough (Park Gate) Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole canal was within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Was a 1.5 mile, 4 lock, private broad canal from the Don at Park Gate to Greasbrough.

History:

Built by the Marquees of Rockingham to serve collieries and surveyed by John Varley in 1769, John Smeaton in 1775 and William Fairbank in 1778. Completed by Jessop in 1780. Use ceased around 1918.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Huddersfield Broad Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole canal is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Also known as Sir John Ramsden's Canal, this 3.5 mile navigation links the Huddersfield Narrow Canal to the Calder and Hebble navigation at Cooper Bridge.

History:

Promoted under an Act of 1774 and opened in 1776.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

From the start of the canal at Huddersfield to the middle of Standedge Tunnel the canal is in Yorkshire, it then crosses into Greater Manchester.

Waterway Description:

Restored to full navigation in 2001, this 20 mile navigation crosses the Pennines from Huddersfield, where it joins the Huddersfield Broad Canal, to Ashton-Under-Lyne, where it joins the Ashton Canal.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1794 and opened in 1811. Closed in 1944 by the LMS Railway Act.

Points of Interest:

Contains the longest (5698 yards) and highest (645 feet) tunnel (Standedge) in Britain. Special arrangements apply to navigation of the tunnel. Contact British Waterways for details well in advance.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Keyingham Navigable Drains project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

These drains are entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Keyingham Drain runs from Holderness to the Humber but has never been navigable.

History:

An Act of 1802 authorised navigation improvements subject to landowners approval but no work was done.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Knarsborough Canal Schemes

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

This proposed canal was to be entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Proposals were made to provide water transport to the town of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, so that coal could be delivered to provide steam power for the town's flax spinning industry. None of the schemes proved attractive to investors and so little expansion of the town was possible.

History:

In 1800 routes to the rivers Ure and Ouse were surveyed. Telford made a further survey in 1818 and this was followed by different proposals for canal and railway connections.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Leeds & Liverpool - Springs Branch

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this branch is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A half mile branch at Skipton.

History:

Agents of Lord Thanet, then a minor and owner of Skipton Castle, obtained an Act on 10 May 1773 but the branch was not opened until 1797.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

From the start of the canal at River Lock No 1, Leeds where it joins the Aire and Calder Navigation to a point between South Field Bridge No 159 and Greenberfield Changeline Bridge No 158, where it crosses into Lancashire, 40 miles of the navigation are in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A 127 mile, cross-Pennine route, from Leeds River Lock, where it joins the Aire and Calder Navigation, to Liverpool.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1720, 1770, 1783, 1790, 1794 and 1819. Over fifty miles of waterway open by early 1774. The Bingley Five Rise Locks were opened on the 21st March 1774. Five laden boats descended the locks watched by thousands of people. Burnley Embankment (designed by Robert Whitworth, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Company Engineer) started in 1795. Gannow tunnel was completed in early 1801. The whole canal was fully opened in 1816.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Leven Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

An abandoned canal that is entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Was a 3.25 mile broad canal from Leven, Yorkshire, to the River Hull below Aike.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1801, completed around 1804, closed in 1935.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Little Punchard Gill Boat Level

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal that was entirely within Yorkshire..

Waterway Description:

Was an underground canal in a lead mine at Arkengarthdale, Richmond, Yorkshire.

History:

Closed around 1860.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Market Weighton Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this canal is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Originally ran 9.5 miles, from near Market Weighton, to the River Humber. Now runs 6 miles to the Humber.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1772 and opened in 1782. The Market Weighton Drainage Act of 1900 abandoned the upper 3.5 miles of the canal. Right of navigation through the Humber entrance lock was abandoned in 1971, under section 112 of the Transport Act 1968.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Middlesbrough - Redcar Ship Canal Project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed ship canal from Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a new harbour at Redcar connected to Middlesbrough by a ship canal.

History:

Proposed in 1832. Meetings in London supported the scheme in October 1834 and subscriptions were invited. Strong opposition defeated the proposal.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

North Eastern Junction Canal project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed canal linking Derbyshire with Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a canal from Pixton on the Cromford Canal to the Chesterfield Canal and onwards from Hillmarsh on the Chesrterfield Canal to Rotherham, where it joined the River Don.

History:

A public meeting was held on 26 October 1810 and John Rennie surveyed the route.It was supported by the Cromford Canal Company and in 1811 the Nottingham Canal Company recommended that their shareholders give it support. It was still being discussed in September 1814 but was never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Pocklington Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 9.5 miles from within 1 mile of Pocklington to the junction with the River Derwent, near East Cottingwith. Only the bottom 5 miles are navigable at present.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1815 and opened in 1818.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Ripon Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 2 miles from Ripon to the junction with the River Ure at Oxclose Lock

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1767 and 1820. In was abandoned in 1955 and most of it was restored in 1986 with the final length into Ripon Basin being opened in September 1996.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Aire

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

From the entrance to the River Ouse at Asselby Island, about 5 miles above Goole, to near the junction with the Selby branch at Haddlesey.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Derwent

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole river is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Malton, Yorkshire, to Barmby-on-the-Marsh where it joins the River Ouse.

History:

Promoted by an Act of 1701, but statutory rights of navigation above Sutton Lock were revoked by an Act of 1935.

Points of Interest:

Currently being restored by the Derwent Trust.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Don

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole river is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs from Bramwith Aqueduct to Goole where it joins the River Ouse. Very fast tidal flows and the river can be dangerous for pleasure craft.

History:

Much of the navigation is the "Dutch River" constructed by Vermuyden of the Netherlands. The river at Fishlake was diverted in 1943.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Don (Upper Section)

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 2.75 miles from the (closed) Stainforth Lock, where it joins the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, to Fishlake, where it joins the River Don main line

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Foss

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole river is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs one and a quarter miles from Monk Bridge, Yorkshire, to Blue Bridge where it joins the River Ouse.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1793 and 1801. Originally it extended to Monk Bridge.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Hull

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole of this navigable river is in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

This tidal navigation runs 20 miles, from Struncheon Hill Lock, on the Driffield Navigation, to Kingston-upon-Hull, where it joins the River Humber.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Humber

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The south side of the river is in Lincolnshire and the North in Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

This tidal estuary runs 37 miles from Trent Falls to the sea. The first 17 miles from Tren Falls to Hull provide a link from the Rivers Ouse and Trent, to Kingston-upon-Hull where it joins the River Hull.

Points of Interest:

Pilotage is available and may be mandatory.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Ouse (Yorkshire)

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole river is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 61.75 miles from Swale Nab, where it joins the River Ure navigation, to Trent Falls where it joins the rivers Trent and Humber.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1642, 1657, 1727, 1732 and 1767. Navigation from Widdington Ings to Swale Nab opened in 1769.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Swale

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A Yorkshire river navigation that was not completed.

Waterway Description:

A tributary of the Yorkshire Ouse, which it joins at Swale Nab. This is the point where it is generally considered that the River Ure also joins the Ouse but many asserted that the Ure changes to the Ouse at Ouse Gill Beck, in which case the Swale does not join the Ouse but the Ure. The geography of the situation cannot be disputed but the nomenclature can. The river is now unnavigable.

History:

An Act was passed in 1767 and another, giving the commisioners powers to issue shares, in 1770. The Swale navigation was never completed but the commissioners powers covered part of the Ouse around Linton Lock which they controlled for over a hundred years.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Tees

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The river traditionally formed the boundary between Yorkshire and Durham but boundary changes and new local authorities in recent years have complicated this former division.

Waterway Description:

Up until 1995 when the Tees Barrage was built below Stockton this was a wholly tidal river. Now there are 11 miles of non-tidal freshwater above the barrage which are used for pleasure boating. Below the barrage there are 13 miles of tidal water to the mouth of the river where it joins the North Sea

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Ure

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 8 miles from the junction with the Ripon Canal, below Oxclose Lock, to Swale Nab, where it joins the River Ouse.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1767 and 1820 to extend the Yorkshire Ouse Navigation.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

River Wharfe

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole navigation is within Yorkshire

Waterway Description:

This open river runs 9.25 miles from Tadcaster Bridge to Wharfe's Mouth, where it joins the River Ouse

History:

A company was formed in 1890 to make the river navigable but this failed and was wound up in 1898

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Rochdale Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

From Sowerby Bridge, the junction with the Calder and Hebble Mavigation, for almost 13 miles the Rochdale Canal crosses Yorkshire to Warland Upper Lock No 35, where it crosses into Greater Manchester.

Waterway Description:

In Manchester just over a mile is navigable at present, forming part of the Cheshire Ring. At Sowerby Bridge Tuel Lane Lock, opened in 1996, gave access to the Yorkshire end of the Canal and in 2002 the whole canal was re-opened.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1794, 1800, 1804, 1806 and 1807. Opened in 1804. Closed to navigation in 1952.This 32 mile canal runs from Soweby Bridge, where it joins the Calder and Hebble Navigation, to Duke's Lock, Manchester, where it joins the Bridgewater Canal.

Points of Interest:

The new Tuel Lane lock, replacing two previous lock, is now the deepest canal lock in the the UK.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Scarborough and Whitby Canal schemes

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

Proposals for a Yorkshire canal.

Waterway Description:

Schemes for canal links from Scarborough and Whitby to the River Derwent. No navigations to either town were built.

History:

Proposals were being made in 1793 and 1794.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Scarsdale & High Peak Canal project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed canal from Derbyshire to Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

A proposed 44 mile canal from the Peak Forest canal at Buxworth down the Derwent valley to the Sheffield and Chesterfield canals and on to Cromford. Also called the Grand Conmmercial Canal.

History:

A prospectus (dated 24 June 1824) was issued to build the canal at an estimated cost of 574,130. It was never authorised or built.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

From Sheffield to a point about ¾ mile before Medge Hall Swing Bridge on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal the navigation runs for over 36 miles through Yorkshire, it then crosses into Lincolnshire.

Waterway Description:

Runs 42 miles, from Sheffield, to Keadby Lock, where it joins the River Trent.

History:

Promoted by Acts of 1793, 1798, 1809 and 1815.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Sheffield and South Yorkshire New Junction Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

The whole canal is within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Connects not only the Aire and Calder Main Line with the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal, but also Sheffield with the River Trent via the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation

History:

Authorised in 1891 to increase the scope of the coal trade carried in "Tom Puddings". Work started in 1896 and it was opened in 1905.

Points of Interest:

Sykehouse Lock is normally boater operated from an electronic control panel. The operation is complicated because the lock will not operate unless the swing bridge across the lock (which is swung manually) is open and has locked into place. The swing and lift bridges on the rest of the waterway are electically operated by boaters (using a BW key) and a simple push button system.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Sheffield Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal entirely within Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Originally a 3 mile 7 furlong, 12 lock, broad canal from the River Don at Tinsley to Sheffield. Now part of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1815, opened in 1819, transferred to the Don by an Act of 1849.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Stainforth & Keadby Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A canal from Lincolnshire to Yorkshire.

Waterway Description:

Now part of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire navigation bur originally a separate canal.

History:

Authorised by an Act of 1793, opened in 1802.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Went Canal project

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

A proposed Yorkshire canal.

Waterway Description:

A proposal for a 24 mile canal with 19 locks from Wakefield through the Went valley to the Dutch River at Went Mouth.

History:

A scheme started in 1772 in opposition to the Aire & Calder and dropped the same year through lack of support.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

Whitby Canal

Waterway's place in Yorkshire :

This abandoned canal was entirely within Yorkshire

Waterway Description:

A short cut from the River Esk built to improve navigation to Ruswarp Mill.

History:

Built between 1752 and 1754, probably closed between 1766 and 1811.

For more details see the Waterway details page.

External Web Sites Related to Yorkshire Waterways

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List