Little hope for Peak Forest Canal opening yet

Published: Thursday, 05 April 2018

WITH Canal & River Trust reporting problem after problem with the repair to Lock15 on the Marple Flight there seems little chance of a re-opening of the Peak Forest Canal in the near future.

This alas, means that two major cruising rings are closed at the beginning of the boating season, this stoppage closing the Cheshire Ring and the breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal closing the Four Counties Ring.

Much worse

It was last September that is was discovered that Lock 15 on the Marple Flight was subsiding, but it was discovered to be much worse than first thought, with considerable movement that meant the whole lock wall had to be rebuilt, with the problem that being a listed structure English Heritage had to be involved.

This meant that instead of dismantling the wall it had to be taken down stone by stone, with each numbered, so that they could be replaced in the same order. Doing it this way meant the lock had to be filled to hold the stones in place, with gravel being used, that was then removed as each course of stone was also removed and numbered.

Had to be replaced

With concrete behind the wall to add strength, the rebuilding commenced, but it was soon discovered that many of the stones were in poor condition with some cracked, so they had to be replaced. This caused weeks of delay, as again English Heritage stepped in insisting that the stones be the same stone as the original! A quarry was eventually discovered that could supply matching stone, so these then had to be cut exactly to size.

There was one good thing that came out of it all, as reported in narrowboatworld  the sum of £1.7m was given by the People’s Postcode Lottery, that enabled the Trust to undertake other work on the flight, including the replacement of lock gates.

At the moment work is still progressing but there is still no opening date for the flight.