UK

Britain's Rivers And Canals Reveal Fascinating Finds Lurking In The Depths

Who knew our waterways were hiding such intriguing items?

24/03/2016 16:46 GMT

Shopping trolleys, traffic cones and old tyres are all fairly unsurprising items to find at the bottom of a waterway - but there have been far more interesting finds in some of Britain’s rivers and canals.

The Canal & River Trust has revealed that they have fished all sort of bizarre items out of the country’s waterways, including an unexploded Second World War hand grenade, a 16ft dead python, antique poison bottles, a Volkswagen Camper Van and a pizza delivery bike complete with a soggy pizza.

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
An iron retrieved from an east London Canal

Also retrieved were a Mercedes A class car, an open safe and a bag of bullets.

The intriguing finds were revealed by the Trust after it conducted a four month survey to record the rubbish being removed from the canals.

It also revealed that a typical tennis-court-sized lock contains:

  1. 1x bicycle
  2. 1x shopping trolley
  3. 1x traffic cone
  4. 67x glass bottles
  5. 4x tyres
  6. 150x plastic bags
  7. 23x cans
  8. 3x windlasses (sometimes known as lock keys)

It costs the Trust around £1 million each year to clear the dumped rubbish - funds it says could be spent on improving wildlife habitats and ensuring the waterways are navigable for boaters.

The Trust is now calling on people to think twice before throwing things into the water.

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Peter Birch, national environment manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “I’m constantly surprised at what people throw into the canal and the quantity of litter that we retrieve. Dealing with the problem is a big task and the money could be better spent enhancing the canals for people and wildlife to enjoy for years to come.”

As we come to the end of our winter restoration and repair work, we are calling for people to think twice about polluting their local canal or river with old plastic bags and litter.

  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
  • Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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    EDITORIAL USE ONLY Shopping trolleys are lifted onto a barge as volunteers and staff from the Canal & River Trust remove rubbish and some more bizarre objects that have been dumped into an East London Canal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 23, 2016. The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales. As part of a major £45 million restoration and repairs programme, the charity conducted a four month survey to record the rubbish being removed from the canals and to reveal what lurks beneath the waterline. From a Mercedes A class car to open safes and a bag of bullets – discarded rubbish is a major nuisance to the Canal & River Trust. Photo credit should: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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    © Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust.Fitting New Lock Gates. Lock 77 Wigan 120215
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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Londons hidden junk is revealed in Regent's Canal after being drained ahead of vital quarter of a million pound repairs on the 200 year old canal. The works are part of the Canal and River Trusts wider �45 million programme of essential repairs, restoration and routine maintenance to the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales At The Regent's Canal on October 8, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images for The Canal & River Trust)
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    © Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust.Fitting New Lock Gates. Lock 77 Wigan 120215
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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Londons hidden junk is revealed in Regent's Canal after being drained ahead of vital quarter of a million pound repairs on the 200 year old canal. The works are part of the Canal and River Trusts wider �45 million programme of essential repairs, restoration and routine maintenance to the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales At The Regent's Canal on October 8, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images for The Canal & River Trust)
  • Canal
  • Canal
    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Londons hidden junk is revealed in Regent's Canal after being drained ahead of vital quarter of a million pound repairs on the 200 year old canal. The works are part of the Canal and River Trusts wider �45 million programme of essential repairs, restoration and routine maintenance to the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales At The Regent's Canal on October 8, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images for The Canal & River Trust)
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    © Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust.Fitting New Lock Gates. Lock 77 Wigan 120215
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    © Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust.Fitting New Lock Gates. Lock 77 Wigan 120215
  • Canal
  • Canal
    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Londons hidden junk is revealed in Regent's Canal after being drained ahead of vital quarter of a million pound repairs on the 200 year old canal. The works are part of the Canal and River Trusts wider �45 million programme of essential repairs, restoration and routine maintenance to the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales At The Regent's Canal on October 8, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images for The Canal & River Trust)
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Earlier this year, a number of intriguing finds were made when Paris' 200-year-old Saint-Martin canal was cleaned out for the first time since 2001.

The last time the canal was drained, it revealed items including gold coins, a WW1 shell and even a car.

While the past decade-and-a-half hasn’t yielded quite such exciting finds, the draining has revealed a veritable treasure trove of items, wheelie bins, bicycles and even mopeds.