Canals and River Navigations
With so many large rivers traversing the region from the Thames in the south to the Nene in the north it was inevitable that they would be opened to navigation as soon as resources and technology became available. Great engineers such as John Rennie advised on the placement of locks on the important rivers to allow the passage of barges. These locks bypassed water mills such as Houghton and Flatford which remained in operation and were important to the economy.
The first of the Navigations opened on the Stour in 1703. The regionīs only true canal, the Grand Union passes through Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire connecting London and Birmingham. Near Tring are the remarkable series of canal water supply balancing reservoirs at Marsworth and a surviving nineteenth century workshop complex and working forge is maintained at Bulbourne.