Since the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age, the English Channel has separated the island of Great Britain from the continent of Europe. To the east it joins the North Sea at the Strait of Dover. At this point, it is narrowest, with just 21 miles separating Dover from Cape Gris-Nez. To the southwest 280 miles, it joins the Atlantic Ocean. It occupies 23,000 square miles and contains the Channel Islands, the Isle of Wight, and many islets and rocks, especially off the coast of Brittany. The only major river flowing into it is the Seine.
It is now possible to drive beneath the channel between England and France, through a tunnel known as the "Chunnel."