News article created on 1 December 2014

Glossary of the waterways N-Z

Pounds, puddles and stanks – we give you the second instalment of our glossary of words you're likely to hear on the waterways.

N to Z

Narrows, noun

A short length of canal with width room for only one narrowboat.

Navvies, noun

Shortened term for navigators; the workforce that built our canals in the 1700s.

Piling, noun

A watertight canal wall, historically formed of timber and now commonly made with vertical sheets of steel, plastic or concrete, although timber is still also used.

Pound, noun

The short stretch of water between two canal locks.

Puddle, Puddling, noun

A clay and water mixture used to line and seal the canal bed and sides.

Stank, noun

A dam, usually composed of puddle clay, built across a canal to isolate a drained section of the waterway.

Turnover, noun

A curved bridge built across a canal to take the towpath from one side to the other. Canals were originally built for horse drawn boats and the bridges needed to be designed so the horse could cross easily without obstructing the tow rope. 

Winding, noun

Pronounced 'win-ding'; the process of turning a boat around, usually in a specified location where a canal has been widened, such as a winding hole. So named because the prevailing wind would assist the turning of the vessel.

Words: Abigail Whyte

About this blog


You're reading Waterfront, the online home of our supporters magazine. If you want to be the first to find out about out latest news and features then become a Friend of the Trust. We'll send you regular emails telling you all about our colourful canals and rivers and much more.

Become a Friend today

See more blogs from this author