Original Seven Wonder of UK Canals – 2nd August 2019

This follows on from our blog posting with regards to the Caen Flight.

There are seven original wonders of the waterways which we have listed below. Between 2010 and now we have completed all of them. Recently, they seem to have replaced the Brindley Embankment with the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland but our belief is that they should be wonders that were created when the canals were originally built using old technology.

1. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

In June 2009 it became a World Heritage site, putting it on an equal footing with the Great Barrier Reef and Statue of Liberty. The aqueduct, taking the Llangollen Canal over the beautiful River Dee valley, is 1,000 feet long and 125 feet high.

2. Standedge Tunnel

The longest, deepest, and highest canal tunnel in the country, Standedge Tunnel – on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal – is nearly three and a half miles long and took 16 years to build. At 196 metres (645 feet) above sea level, Standedge Tunnel burrows 194 metres (638 feet) underneath the Pennines.

3. Caen Hill Lock Flight


Aerial photograph of Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes arguably the longest flight of 16 locks – if not the most impressive anywhere on the UK’s waterways. The locks and ponds were the last stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal to be built in 1810 and form part of a longer 29-lock flight at Devizes, all packed into just over two miles. They are designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument – the same level of heritage protection given to Stonehenge.

4. Barton Swing Aqueduct

Essentially, the aqueduct, which carries the Bridgewater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal consists of a metal tank with doors at either end that is mounted on a central pillar. When required to open, the tank doors and doors to the canal at either end are closed, and then the whole tank, with 800 tons of water, pivots around the central point.

5. Anderton Boat Lift

No description can adequately convey the sheer scale of this engineering feat. The Anderton Boat Lift is an incredible edifice, perched on the banks of the River Weaver like some giant three-storey high iron spider. It was built by Edwin Clark in 1875 to lift cargo boats the 50 feet from the River Weaver to the Trent & Mersey Canal. Like all great things, the concept is simple: two huge water tanks, each with watertight sealable doors carry boats up and down.

6. Bingley Five Rise Locks


An 18th century engineering masterpiece, these five locks operate as a ‘staircase’ flight – in which the lower gate of one lock forms the upper gate of the next. When completed in 1774, thousands gathered to watch the first boats make the 60 foot descent. Now, over 200 years later, the flight is still in daily use providing access to 16 miles of lock-free cruising on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the glorious scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

7. Burnley Embankment
Known principally for its industrial past, Burnley is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in England and is also home to one of the seven wonders of the waterways, Burnley Embankment. This mile-long stretch of embankment carries the Leeds & Liverpool Canal through the centre of the town, up to 60 feet above the buildings below.


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