IWA Directory reveals the condition of Britain’s 6,500 miles of inland waterways

Issue date: 3rd May 2016

Mainland Britain enjoys 4,700 miles of navigable inland waterways, but that still leaves more than a quarter of our 6,500-mile canal and river network either derelict or unnavigable, new research from The Inland Waterways Association shows.

The findings are contained in the IWA Waterways Directory, detailing the complete canal and river network of England, Wales and Scotland, its condition and the myriad bodies responsible for it. IWA is making the Directory freely available online, as a record of the state of the nation’s waterways and as part of its commitment to their protection and restoration.

John Pomfret, who compiled the Directory on behalf of the Association, said: “This information has never before been available in one place in an easily accessible and searchable format. By ensuring the data is available on our website as a public resource, IWA is adding significantly to the knowledge of our waterways that is readily available to all.”

“The Directory is conceived as a dynamic, evolving reference work that can be updated as the condition of our waterways change. So we’re encouraging users of the publication and those with expert knowledge of even the remotest reaches of the network to help us keep the Directory as accurate and current as possible,” he said.

As well as benefiting anyone with a professional interest in our inland waterways, the IWA Waterways Directory will be valuable to academics, historians and canal enthusiasts alike. And by highlighting waterways which may be less familiar to many inland boaters, IWA hopes to encourage more interest in ensuring their protection and development.


Press Contact

For more information please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office,

The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk or phone 07779 090915.

Photos available on request.

Notes for Editors

About the IWA Waterways Directory

The IWA Waterways Directory includes information on all navigable and formerly navigable canals and all rivers that were made navigable or used for inland navigation in their natural state, from the derelict Dingwall Canal in the north east of Scotland to the navigable Truro River in Cornwall. Waterways are listed alphabetically and data can be filtered by different subjects. The information given for each waterway includes length (in miles and kilometres), how much is currently open to navigation, details of the navigation or harbour authority or other responsible body, whether a right of navigation exists and any Maritime and Coastguard Agency classification for the waterway. Details of the content of the directory and the rationale for inclusion of waterways are provided in a comprehensive set of accompanying explanatory notes.

The IWA Waterway Directory can be obtained from IWA’s website:

About IWA

IWA is The Inland Waterways Association, a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.  IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations.  The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.

IWA - Keeping our waterways alive. www.waterways.org.uk

Press Information

For routine press inquiries please contact: