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River Medway

From Academic Kids

The River Medway in England flows for 112 km from Turners Hill, in West Sussex, through Tonbridge, Maidstone and Rochester in Kent, to the River Thames at Sheerness. From 1746 the limit of navigation was Tonbridge, but the channel was improved to Leigh in 1828. Small craft such as canoes can sometimes travel as far as Penshurst. The stretch from Leigh to Allington is known as the Medway Navigation, and is 19 miles (31 km) long. The mouth of the river is defined by Garrison Point, between the Isle of Sheppey and the Isle of Grain.

There are eight locks on the river. The lowest, opened in 1792, is at Allington, and is the extent of tides. The others are Farleigh, Teston, Hampstead Lane, East Lock, Porter's, Eldridge's and Tonbridge Town.

The Medway Gap, where the wide Medway follows a steep and narrow valley near Rochester, has been described as one of the most impressive topographical features in southern England.

The Medway divides the county of Kent into two parts. Traditionally, the western part, West Kent, was administered from Maidstone, its inhabitants being called Kentish Men, while the eastern part, East Kent was administered from Canterbury, its inhabitants being called Men of Kent. The county was united in 1814, with Maidstone as the county town.

The river's lowest fixed crossing is the Medway Tunnel connecting Gillingham to Strood. Opened in 1996, the tunnel was constructed using the immersed tube method.

In the early 1800s the Medway was linked to the Thames by a canal that ran from Strood to Gravesend. The canal was not a commercial success, and was replaced by the 1850s with the railway line which to this day still followed its route, including the tunnel located between Strood and Higham. The derelict remnants of the canal's lock at Strood still exist.

A new 1.3 km railway bridge, with a central span of 152 m, was built in 2003 for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project to cross the Medway Gap near Cuxton. A motorway bridge carrying the M2 runs alongside it.

Two military actions are called the Battle of Medway; one during the Roman invasion of Britain and one during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Medway megaliths are a group of Neolithic chamber tombs including the Coldrum Stones and Kits Coty known in the valley.

In 1942 the world's first test of a submarine oil pipeline was conducted on a pipeline laid across the Medway in Operation Pluto.

In 1981, a flood barrier was constructed near Leigh to protect the downstream town of Tonbridge, which had been severely affected by the flooding of 1968. During periods of high flow, the downstream flow is controlled by allowing up to 2.78 square kilometres of farmland upstream of the barrier to flood.

Every year a festival is held in Maidstone to celebrate the River Medway. Maidstone River Festival, which has been running since 1980, is held on the last Saturday of July. It features events on and around the river and attracts thousands to Kent's county town.

External links

See also

nl:Medway no:Medway (elv)

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