The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary is being marked with a major fundraising appeal to restore or replace missing mileposts along its 127-mile route.
We're looking for sponsors to donate up to £200 to restore each milepost and volunteer work parties to help restore damaged or corroded mile posts.
The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose grant of £36,600 has supported the appointment of a new project officer Alice Kay, the fabrication of 40 new mile posts and a programme of activities, heritage events and art workshops for local residents.
A recent survey of the trans-Pennine canal has revealed that about a third of the original 127 mile posts are missing or severely damaged, 89 need re-painting and around 75 need new number plates fixing to them. This includes eight missing posts on the Yorkshire side of the canal, a 35-mile stretch between Gargrave and Leeds.
Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mile markers date back to the 1890s. They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893. This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.
Marking the start of the canal bicentenary celebrations, the first newly restored milepost to be unveiled was unveiled in Skipton on Friday 19 February.
It has been saved thanks to the eagle-eyes of retired Keighley resident, John Webb. He is a keen local historian and canal enthusiast and during his walks along the canal noticed that the mile maker had been damaged and a broken section was buried in nearby undergrowth.
Chantelle Seaborn, local waterway manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: "Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project will be so much more than just replacing the 120-year-old mile makers. We hope their restoration will also galvanise many more people to get involved with the wonderful historic, living waterway on their doorstep.”
Any organisation or volunteer interested in getting involved in the bicentenary EveryMileCounts project, should contact Canal & River Trust project officer Alice Kay, at email@example.com.