Mending Marple

We're delighted that Marple Lock Flight, on the Peak Forest Canal, has re-opened after 20 months of emergency repairs.

Mending Marple (credit: Dave Thompson) Mending Marple (credit: Dave Thompson)

If you're a regular boater or visitor to Marple locks and aqueduct you'll know that it has been out of action one way or another since September 2017.

Problems with the lock chamber walls first at Lock 15 and then Lock 11 have resulted in the lock flight being closed to through-traffic. But thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teams we were thrilled to welcome our first boats over the bank holiday weekend.

Our supervisor Tracey Jackson said: "Big thanks to the wonderful army of volunteers in this area. Throughout the work, they have continued to keep this area looking lovely for visitors and staffed the welcome station at the junction with the Macclesfield Canal. As the canal reopens for boats, we are expecting another busy summer."

As the charity that cares for over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, we rely on funding, big and small, to help us make life better by water for communities across England and Wales.

The engineer's point of view

We've spent a lot of time working on Marple Flight. Last year we caught up with Helen Braidwood, one of our asset engineers, who explained more about the complex repair.

"There have been over 90 different pieces of work carried out along the flight, from Marple Aqueduct all the way up to Lock 16. This meant that the flight had to be closed to boaters and the towpath closed to walkers and cyclists.

When repairing quadrants (the raised stone areas that you stand on to open a lock) each piece of masonry is removed individually and numbered. By doing this we can make sure quadrant is put back in the same way it was taken down, protecting the heritage of the area.

Quadrant at Marple Locks Quadrant at Marple Locks

I also designed pathways on Marple Aqueduct to allow disabled access, including adding tail ramps. This means that the flight is more accessible for the public.

Throughout the flight a lot of improvements have taken place which I hope will encourage residents of Marple and the wider community to continue to use and enjoy the waterway. The work which has taken place may not always be visible to members of the public but it is all part of protecting Marple’s heritage and ensuring it lasts long into the future."

Local resident and one of our towpath fundraising team, Dave Thompson, shared his photos and videos with us, including this timelapse of the work.

Last date edited: 29 May 2019