Huddersfield Narrow could be closed this season

Published: Wednesday, 27 April 2022

THE Canal & River Trust warn that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal could be closed this season should there be a shortage of water.

Not only the possible closure, but whilst it is open boaters will not be allowed on the navigation unless they have actually booked to go through the Standedge Tunnel! Keith Gudgin reports.

stalybridgePrior2Severely restricting

This seems to be the new trend of severely restricting navigation using the 'reason' of possible water shortage, with the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals already under severe restrictions, with now the Huddersfield Narrow being added.

The official notice from the trust reads: This year, due to restricted water resource available, we are at risk of being unable to keep the Huddersfield Narrow navigation open for the full boating season.

From the 9th May rather convoluted restrictions come into force that passage through Lock 32E to Lock 42E will only be available to those that have a Standedge Tunnel booking, and passage through Lock 24W to Lock 32W will only be available for the same reason. (The images show some of the work required to restore the Huddersfield Narrow Canal that is now so sorely neglected.)

melbournestreet1Staff required on site

A member of the Canal & River Trust team, we are told, will be required on site to let you through onto this closed section and will also provide assistance with navigating through the locks within these closed sections, as experience has shown that errors made whilst navigating the top flights of both the East and West can cause significant water loss on the navigation.

The above however is in force only 'when resources are available', meaning that passage is not guaranteed should staff/volunteers not be available at the time of the booking.

In order to facilitate this the trust has made rather convoluted changes to the Standedge Tunnel booking schedule with access only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with boats having to be at certain locations at certain times on different days.

Not worth the effort

All in all it makes use of the Huddersfield Narrow very risky indeed, and to quote our Keith—Talk about making it complicated. It's just not worth the effort!  A statement with which we can but agree and an insult to those at British Waterways who engineered the £30 millions spent on restoring this wonderful waterway through the Pennines in 2002.