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Trivia question

"No matter where you are in England you are no more than ? miles from a canal or navigable waterway." A friend's just challenged me to answer this and naively assumed that I'd know. I'm guessing 30 miles but I'm hoping someone knows the proper answer. My 'canal cred' hangs in the balance ...

Asked by: Graham Pierce  | 3.41pm, Saturday 13 August

WW says:

In 'British Canals' by Charles Hadfield, there are two maps (pages 24 and 25 in my copy) which show the parts of the country that were more than 15 miles from navigable water in 1600 to 1660 and 1724 to 1727.
These are well before the main canal system was built but, even so, the areas on the second map are fairly small. The building of the canals would have reduced these to practically nothing in the Midlands and South but, north of Leeds, the picture would not have changed very much.
My guess is that your estimate of 30 miles is not far from the truth but I cannot find a definitive answer.

Graham Booth  | 6.59PM, Monday 15 August

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