As part of our annual programme of restoration and repairs across the country, we're undertaking essential maintenance works on the Droitwich Canals and Worcester & Birmingham Canal this winter.
Projects totalling over £300,000 will be completed, including painstakingly repairing historic canal walls, locks and lock gates.
The stand-out piece of work will be carried out in January, when people will have the unique opportunity to walk inside a drained lock at Tardebigge and experience a two-century old world, which is usually hidden beneath the waterline.
Tardebigge is the longest flight of locks in the UK, made of 30 locks over a two-and-a-quarter mile stretch. Lock 58 will have its giant, solid-oak lock gate replaced with a hand-crafted new gate, as well as conservation work to the centuries-old brickwork that make-up the walls throughout the flight.
The works are part of our five-month, £45 million programme to look after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.
Nick Worthington, Canal & River Trust waterways manager, said: “The Droitwich and Worcester & Birmingham canals are much loved, and there’s quite a lot of work needed to look after them. This goes on all-year-round, but over the next few months our engineers and heritage experts will be focusing on the major infrastructure projects that need to be done.
"With the waterways being 200-years old, a lot of the repairs are quite specialised, and a lot of care and craftsmanship is needed. I’d definitely encourage people to come along to our open day in Tardebigge early in the new year where there’s the chance to see this work up close and experience the rare treat of walking inside a drained lock.”
Kier is sponsoring this year’s programme. Eddie Quinn, operations director, Waterways, says: “We are incredibly proud to sponsor the Trust’s essential work to preserve the canals and rivers of England and Wales.
"Repairing and maintaining the waterways is a huge task requiring traditional materials and methods to be used to maintain this vital part of our heritage. As well as historical importance, the waterways are now widely recognised for being crucial for wildlife and are a well-loved leisure resource for millions of people every year.”