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Bingley Five Rise Locks 250th anniversary

Celebrate with us at one of our iconic 'wonders of the waterways' as Yorkshire’s Bingley Five Rise Locks celebrates its 250th anniversary.

On Saturday, 23 March, we commemorated the 250th anniversary of Bingley Five Rise Locks and Bingley Three Rise Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

These locks have been in use for over two centuries and remain active today.

Looking up at five steep staircase locks bathed in sunlight and surrounded by vibrant greenery.

250 years ago…

One of the greatest feats of canal engineering of its day, the Grade I listed Bingley Five Rise Locks opened in 1774. Around 30,000 people turned out to cheer their opening, and the local militia fired their field guns in salute.

Boats need to navigate six gates and five chambers to climb or descend 18 metres – and it can take up to 45 minutes to go up. Staircase locks differ from standard locks. Instead of a connecting pound between each lock, the gates lead directly into the next lock. This means boaters need to carefully open the paddles in a specific order.

The lock gates at Bingley Five Rise are some of the tallest in the country. Whenever we have to restore, repair, or replace our lock gates, we use the same traditional methods as used 250 years ago.

How we're celebrating

Meet the experts who care for the locks and the canal, find out how you can get involved yourself, and support our work. Discover what makes Bingley Five Rise Locks one of the seven ‘wonders of the waterways’ at this special day with activities running throughout, from town to towpath.

Learn about the challenges of preserving and maintaining these remarkable feats of engineering – and the many ways you can enjoy them today.

Celebrations will include:

  • Seeing the ‘UK’s steepest staircase locks’ in action
  • Lock keeper demonstrations and talks by volunteers
  • Boat trips along the canal
  • Guided heritage walks & talks
  • Ecology and environment talks, plus a fish tank display
  • Bird watching and nature spotting trail at Bingley Bog
  • Paddle sports sessions
  • Floating market
  • Canal art & craft activities
  • Bushcraft
  • Sketch walks
  • Demonstrations, handling sessions and talks from partner organisations
  • Let’s Fish taster sessions
  • #TopOfTheLocks selfie opportunity

From towpath to town

Our celebrations will spread into Bingley town centre, with live music, poetry readings, and performances.

Last Edited: 25 March 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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