Tuel Lane Lock gets a Springclean

Published: Friday, 10 March 2023

TUEL Hill Lock on the Rochdale Canal is having a Springclean by volunteers.

This lock at Sowerby Bridge at the eastern start of the waterway is the deepest on the system at 19ft 8.5 inches and has been partially drained to allow the work to proceed.


The image shows volunteer Maureen Readle helping to clear the vast amount of rubbish that has gathered in the lock over time, with other volunteers getting stuck in to help, explaining:

“I’ve enjoyed lots and lots of canal boating holidays with my husband, we wanted to help give back to the canals by volunteering when we retired. We get involved in all sorts of activities around Todmorden, litter picking, painting locks, managing vegetation. I have also adopted a stretch of the canal too, which my husband and I look after.

The great thing about volunteering with the Canal & River Trust is having the opportunity chance to do all sorts of things and spend time outdoors by the water. I’ve never worn a pair of waders before, and I’ve been waist high in water, helping to look after the UK’s deepest lock!”

Not permitted to operate

Unusually, because of the depth of the Tuel Lane Lock and its proximity to a canal tunnel, members of the public are not permitted to operate the lock mechanisms themselves. Instead, volunteer lock keepers help crews to negotiate the gates.

The lock is so deep because it does the work of two. Built in 1996 during restoration of the Rochdale Canal, it replaced a pair of earlier locks to enable the canal to tunnel under a road built on its original level and provide a more efficient route.