This winter we'll be hosting a series of free winter open days to showcase the work and attention that goes into keeping the nation’s network of canals and rivers open and available for local people to use and enjoy.
We carry out much of our heavy maintenance during this time of year to keep disruption to boaters and towpath visitors to a minimum.
Between now and the arrival of spring, we'll be draining stretches of canal and replacing 118 lock gate leaves to carry out important repairs and inspections to 200-year-old canal structures. This includes Scheduled Ancient Monuments and a World Heritage Site. The public is being given ‘behind the scenes’ access at ten different sites.
The open days will give visitors access into drained lock chambers on the Grand Union Canal, River Soar and Trent & Mersey Canal, whilst repairs to the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’ – Anderton Boat Lift – and the draining for inspection of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct both provide an amazing opportunity to get a rarely-seen view of two of the ‘wonders of the waterways’.
A number of the events, including at Sharpness Dock where the canal network connects with the sea, will highlight the Trust’s #plasticschallenge which invites people to get involved in helping to stop the flow of plastic litter into the world’s oceans.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, comments: "Millions of people visit our canals and rivers each year. They are places to relax and take time out, they are places for leisure, boating, and recreation and are often places in our towns and cities to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
"But many people may not realise the work and attention that our charity and our volunteers put into caring for the waterways or indeed how getting involved, simply by visiting their local canal, can improve their health and wellbeing.
"We look forward to seeing lots of new faces as well as many old friends at this winter’s open days."
Because the open days are often linked to winter construction and maintenance work, many of the precise dates will be confirmed on the Canal & River Trust website nearer the time.