Plenty of repair Open Days this winter

Published: Friday, 10 December 2021

THIS winter Canal & River Trust is inviting people to see its canal repairs both in person and virtual.

Subject to the latest coronavirus government guidelines, the trust plans to run a series of in-person open days in February and March so people can walk along the bottom of a drained waterway, see the working industrial heritage up close and hear from the teams involved and find out more about the essential work or visit a lock to see how it works.

Birmingham Open DayOnline tours

There will also be a programme of online ‘behind the scenes’ tours starting in December giving people who aren’t local, or who would prefer to join online, the opportunity to see the breadth of works taking place.

The pictures shows visitors at a Birmingham repair.

The in-person open days are being planned across the country and will encompass a variety of sites and works where people will be able to experience: the spectacular Anderton Boat Lift on the Weaver; a walk along the drained Hertford Union Canal in the heart of London; staircase locks at Grindley Brook on the Llangollen Canal; water-saving repairs at Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale Canal; replacing lock gates at Seend on the Kennet & Avon Canal and a chance to visit Newark’s inland dry dock.

In addition, virtual events include Bingley Five Rise Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (pictured); works to pumping stations on the Kennet & Avon Canal; and emergency breach repairs on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Rishton.

Keep the canals and rivers open

Richard Parry, Chief Executive at the Canal & River Trust, explains:

“The work the Trust carries out every winter is at the centre of our care and maintenance. Our teams are out, often battling the elements, to keep the canals and rivers open, safe and accessible for boaters, local communities, and other waterway visitors.

“The task of looking after this ageing network presents an ongoing challenge, particularly as extreme weather becomes more common, so we will continue to be unrelenting in our efforts to generate the funds and support needed to keep the waterways available for generations to come. The open days are a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the work involved and why it’s so important, as well as seeing the canals from a fresh perspective.”

Northgate3The in-person Open Days

5th February—Grindley Brook, Llangollen Canal in Shropshire

Carrying out repairs to locks 1, 2 and 6some of the busiest locks on the canal network. Locks 1 and 2 are staircase locks, where the top gate of one is the bottom gate of the next. Visitors will have the opportunity to go into the bottom of the drained locks as our specialist carpenters reline the gates to improve their fit which will help save water on this busy stretch of canal. (The picture shows visitors in a empty Leeds & Liverpool lock.)

18th & 19th FebruaryHertford Union Canal

This London canal adjacent to Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets is one of the busiest on the networkboth with boats on the water and people using the towpath. At almost 200 years old, the walls which make up the side of the canal are in need of restoration and repair. To do this, the Trust will be draining the stretch of canal between Junction Bridge and Lock 1 – rehoming the fish to the adjacent stretch of canal which will remain full of waterand then carefully repairing the walls using traditional building techniques. Visitors will be able to take a walk along the bottom of the drained canal for a rare ‘fish-eye’s-view’ of the repairs to one of London’s waterway gems.

26th February, 10am–4pmSeend Lock 18, Kennet & Avon Canal, near The Barge Inn

The five locks at Seend on the Kennet & Avon Canal were once a hive of activity with trade. Today, they are a picture of tranquillity. This winter the Trust is replacing some lock gates, each handmade at our specialist workshop, which will be carefully craned into position to keep this busy canal open and available for boaters. The Trust’s specialists will be on hand to talk about the works taking place as well as the wider efforts to look after this 200-year-old canal which has become a haven for boaters, locals, tourists and wildlife. The picture below shows a crowd at Foxton Flight.

Foxton Open Day

The dates

26th and 27th FebruaryAnderton Boat Lift, River Weaver

Family friendly activities and an insight into the repair works taking place at the lift. Visitors will hear about the works taking place and the effort to keep this ‘wonder of the waterways’ operating for years to come. There will also be an insight into a £multi-million future refurbishment of the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’ currently being plannedwhat is set to be the biggest refurbishment of the lift since its restoration 20 years ago.

26th & 27th February, 10am–4pmNewark Town Lock, Newark

Newark was once an important port on the Trent. Today, exploring the lovely old riverside buildings provides a great family day out. This open day is hoping to give visitors the opportunity to take a tour down into the bottom of the drained Newark Town Lock as the Canal & River Trust carries out important maintenance and repairs to the historic structure. There will be refreshments and family friendly activities available in the lock-side garden, and an opportunity to visit the town’s dry dockthe largest inland dry dock in the UK.

12th March, 10am–2pmLock 9, Rochdale Canal, Hebden Bridge.

The Trust is carrying out important water saving repairs to this historic lock. The public footbridge provides a perfect viewing platform down into the drained lock, and the Trust’s specialists will be on-hand to describe the work taking place and to host some fun family canal-themed activities. Coincide the event with a visit to the town’s independent shops, galleries and cafes for a great family day out.

Virtual Open Days

Bath, Claverton and Foxhangars Pumping Stations, Kennet & Avon Canal.
Bingley Five Rise, Leeds & Liverpool Canal—lock gate replacement.
Hertford Union Canalas abovedraining a stretch of canal to repair the wall using traditional techniques.
Leeds & Liverpool Canalbreach at Rishton.
Lock 3 at Ryders Green, Walsall Canallock gate replacement.
Monmouthshire & Brecon Canaldraining of a mile stretch of canal to carry out bridge and culvert repairs.
Watford Flight, Grand Union Canal.