We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Interesting facts about our winter works

Heading to one of our Open Days in 2017? Then before you go take a look at some interesting facts and stats around our winter works programme.

Engineers moving lock gates into place in a drained lock pound Replacing lock gates
  • The annual cost to the charity of cleaning up litter on our waterways last year was just under £900,000, with London costing the lion share with more than £1/2 million spent.
  • The charity carries out a year round programme of works to maintain and repair 2,000 miles of canals and rivers so they can be enjoyed by the 33,000 boats that use the network and 12 million towpath visitors each year.
  • The £45 million winter maintenance programme will provide thousands of visitors the rare chance to go behind-the-scenes and venture into the bottom of drained lock chambers and aqueducts giving the opportunity to see up close some of the finest examples of working industrial heritage in the world.
  • Many of the biggest projects are carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users. This year, essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels.
  • Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from sustainably-sourced British oak. 
  • Every lock gate is a different size which is why each one is made to a bespoke specification.
  • This year’s maintenance programme will work on around 164 locks across England and Wales.
  • Last year nearly 10,000 visitors came to venture into our drained locks and structures to learn about the works we do and why.


Last date edited: 13 January 2017