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Greater Manchester's canals to get winter makeover

This winter we are carrying out a number of important repairs to the waterways in Greater Manchester including on the Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow canals.

A workman fixing a new lock gate in a drained canal

The works, which will cost nearly £1m, will include the replacement of a number handcrafted lock gates and repairs to listed waterway structures. We will start repairs in November with the maintenance programme continuing until next March.

Among the work taking place is:

  • Vital repairs to five locks on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal including Lock 18 at Greenfield and four locks on the Diggle Flight.
  • New handcrafted lock gates will replace aging gates in central Manchester on the Rochdale Canal, while in Rochdale itself, a number of locks will undergo important work to prevent them leaking.

Ged King, from the Canal & River Trust, said: "The projects we're carrying out over the next five months are really important. We'll be emptying millions of litres of water from the canal, moving thousands of fish, and lifting multi-tonne lock gates through the air into place. It is a great example of the type of work we do to improve the canal so everyone who lives on, works on or visits the waterway can enjoy.

"The canals are 200-years old but arguably as relevant as ever for today's society. They offer an amazing, tranquil space, where everything slows down. They are a great place to escape the pressures of modern life. We know from research that people are happier and more relaxed when they are by water, and the activities the canals support means they can help contribute to improving people's mental and physical well-being."

The wooden lock gates on Greater Manchester's waterways typically last around 25 years and allow countless boats to travel from place to place. Each new gate is made to measure and weighs several tonnes, and is handcrafted from seasoned oak so that it fits perfectly in the lock chamber. Once in place the new lock gates will help the Trust conserve water and keep boats moving along the waterway.

For more information on the works planned on the nations canals this winter visit

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 06 November 2018

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