News article created on 16 February 2022

Come and explore the depths of 20ft River Trent lock

We're investing £330,000 in the lock as part of its winter maintenance programme and we are inviting you to venture down to the bottom of Newark Town Lock which has been drained for major lock gate replacement works.

picture of a filled locked Newark Town Lock

What should you expect?

On 26 and 27 February visitors will be able to get a rare insight into the inner workings of the lock by venturing around 20 feet deep onto the lock floor. They will be able to see the giant lock gates up close, speak to waterway specialists about how locks are repaired and find out about the structure’s 200-year-old masonry work that is usually hidden below the waterline. Guided tours within the drained lock will give people a unique opportunity to explore their local canal and hear about our work to protect and preserve the waterway.

As well as descending down into the lock visitors will also be able to take a peek inside the nearby dry dock, one of the largest of its kind in the country, and explore the Leicester Trader, one of the few remaining Trent-sized barges that used to carry cargoes on the river.

Families will be able to take part in arts and craft activities and explore a special interactive model showing how locks work on Saturday 26 February.

On Sunday 27 February visitors can have a go at fishing with our 'Let’s Fish!' sessions or join in with water safety demonstrations, trying to hit a target with a safety throw line.

A great example of the work we do

Diana Vogtel, our community engagement manager, said: “The works at Newark Town Lock are a great example of the work that we do to ensure our historic waterways are protected and preserved for boaters and the local community to use and enjoy.

“We’re really excited to open the works up to the public and to give local people the rare opportunity to walk along the lock floor. Descending down to the bottom of the lock and staring up at the giant oak lock gates is a real experience.

“It’s a great way to bring local history to life and show people the work that we do to look after this important part of the area’s heritage. Research shows that being by water has a positive effect on people’s physical and mental wellbeing events like this are so important in encouraging more people to spend time by the river.”

Why are we doing this?

This winter we are undertaking a £59 million major overhaul across our 2,000 miles of waterways, as part of a five-month maintenance programme to canals and rivers across England and Wales. Essential maintenance will include the replacement and refurbishment of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs, bridges and tunnels.

The new lock gates at Newark Town Lock have been made in the Trust’s specialist workshop at Stanley Ferry in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from sustainably-sourced British oak and has a working life of 25-30 years.

The open days run from 10am until 4pm each day with pay and display parking available at Riverside car park.