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UK waterways

The United Kingdom is home to a vast network of waterways. These are navigable bodies of water in various forms such as canals, rivers and lakes.

Natural rivers and lakes were the first waterways to be used for the transportation of people and goods. These were then improved to make navigation more reliable, by the construction of artificial channels and flash locks. The introduction of the pound lock enabled more ambitious waterways to be built. The Industrial Revolution required the transport of large quantities of raw materials and finished goods, and this led to a period of 'canal mania' which saw the construction of a large network of canals in the United Kingdom.

Competition, first from railways and later from road transport, started the decline of many canal and river navigations, leading in some cases to their abandonment. The latter half of the twentieth century saw the development of recreational boating and the restoration of many disused waterways.

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Aldwarke Lock

The River Don Navigation is a canalisation of the River Don, running from Sheffield to Fishlake in South Yorkshire, England, and improvements to the river began in 1726. The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Company bought it in 1895, having been set up specifically to remove canals from railway influence. The navigation was the subject of one of the last major attempts in the UK to attract commercial freight to the waterways. In 1983, it was upgraded to the 700-tonne Eurobarge standard, but the hoped-for increase in commercial traffic did not occur.

Main article: River Don Navigation

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