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Much is made of the “fact” that lock sizes on the connected waterway system of England and Wales mean anything bigger than a 57ft narrowboat makes that impossible. There are a good number of people who have managed to negotiate everything in a 60ft narrowboat, although on the Calder and Hebble, the Huddersfield Broad Canal and the Ripon Canal (all marked in green on the above map) they have had to remove bow and stern fenders and do one or two locks backwards.
If you are going to be aboard for many months at a time, take a look at the above map and consider just how little of the waterways is not possible with a 62ft boat, or indeed a 70ft boat. To gain extra living space for the sake of a small amount of waterway may be a worthwhile sacrifice, and you can always hire a boat to cover the missing bits if you so wish.
For more information the IWA have a useful page with links to information about every British waterway
For boats wider than 7 feet it becomes a little more complicated. The Central area of England is essentially a no go area with no connection other than a sea journey from South to North.
A superb mine of information and help is the renowned Waterways Photographer and Writer Jim Sheads site – the link is given to his map – click any waterway name and it will give you the exact dimensions of locks and pinch points on each one. However, don’t stop there – history, sights, useful points and many other bits of information are contained in his Encyclopaedia of the Inland Navigable Waterways of the UK