200 schools for 200 years!

2016 marked the bicentenary anniversary of the mighty Leeds & Liverpool canal being built. To celebrate this, Explorers took on an equally mighty challenge of engaging 200 schools within two miles of the canal over the course of 2016. Offering interactive local history workshops, water safety assemblies and guided walks, the challenge was to engage school children with the historical landmark on their doorstep.

All about the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

We produced a downloadable resource to help children learn about why the canal was built, who built it and why it took so long to complete.

Over 1000 children try canoeing

In partnership with the Desmond Family Canoe Trail we ran four canoe schools weeks where children had the opportunity to try canoeing and learn about habitats or upthrust in a science workshop. Over 1000 children took part in activities across four locations: Bootle, Burscough, Blackburn and Wigan.

Teacher twilight

Ten teachers from Maghull & District Cluster of Schools joined us to learn about how their schools could celebrate the bicentenary of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Winter works

Children from Priestthorpe Primary School joined the Explorers and Construction team to find out how Bingley Three Rise Locks were made and repaired. Bingley Beavers also had the opportunity to see the huge spider crane (required for the installation of new lock gates) transported along the canal to Three Rise Locks.

The joining of Yorkshire and Lancashire

The summer term saw the Mersey Motorboat Club host a week of bicentenary themed workshops for local schools. 250 children took part in Explorers activities including fossil making, upthrust workshops and Leeds & Liverpool Canal rosette making.

Happy birthday to you...

Over 500 children lined the route of the canal to see short boat Kennet and its flotilla of boats through their local area – waving flags and singing happy birthday to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Explorers volunteers

2016 saw 22 active Explorers volunteers leading educational visits along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Bingley, Burnley, Sefton and Liverpool.

Art project

In partnership with The Tetley in Leeds, Explorers worked with artist Jennyanne Smith and year 5 from St Joseph’s Primary School in Hunslet. The children drew what the canal might look like in another 200 years. Jennyanne then incorporated their drawings into boards that were installed in Granary Wharf in Leeds and are now on public display.




And finally…the award for bicentenary volunteer of the year goes to: Les Dundon!

Sefton Explorers volunteer Les was named volunteer of the year at the bicentenary gala dinner and awards evening. Les also volunteers for other teams within the North West Waterway and is a huge asset to the Trust – we’re very lucky to have him.

Last date edited: 20 January 2017

About this blog

The Education Team

The Education Team delivers two main learning programmes. Explorers which is aimed at primary school children and uniformed groups, and STEM which is aimed at secondary schools. We provide free, curriculum linked learning resources for teachers and offer a range of outreach sessions to inspire children and young people about our waterways. Our fantastic Education Volunteers deliver sessions on the towpath or in school, bringing the stories of our waterways to life.


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