Local people are being invited to an open day to discover how they can play a part in bringing two historic locks on the beautiful Grantham Canal back to life.
The scheme, which has been awarded a £830,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will see volunteers restoring two derelict locks which were designed and built by renowned canal engineer William Jessop.
The five year project is being led by volunteers and will see locks 14 and 15 near Woolsthorpe brought back into working use for the first time in around 80 years as well as training volunteers in valuable conservation skills and laying the groundwork for the restoration of a further two locks (numbered 12 and 13).
As well as the physical works the aim is also to raise awareness of the canal’s built and natural heritage and encourage more people to explore it through festivals, walking trails, archaeological activities, on-site information and online resources.
The open day, which is being held at Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir on Saturday 4th July, will enable people to find out more, see the locks for themselves and discover how they may be able to help out.
Karen Rice, project manager for the Canal & River Trust explains: “This is a really exciting project to be part of. It’s an opportunity for local people to step forward and help play their part in bringing the locks, which are so important to the history of the area, back to life whilst also developing their own skills and gaining qualifications.
“We need people to get involved in everything, whether it be getting their hands dirty with construction, going into local schools, promoting the project via social media or even just keeping everyone topped up with the all-important tea and biscuits.
“This event is a chance for people to drop in, meet those already involved and to see if there’s a way in which they can help out and I’d urge anyone interested to come along.”
Mike Stone, chairman of the Grantham Canal Society, said: “We have campaigned for this to be a volunteer led project having had many years of experience in working on the Grantham Canal. We have a team of keen and enthusiastic volunteers who welcome this opportunity to encourage new colleagues to join them for what should be an interesting and exciting project”.
The two locks were designed by renowned engineer William Jessop and many components and design features are largely intact from their original construction over 200 years ago. Sadly, since the canal was closed to boats in 1929, the locks have become overgrown and in some places collapsed. Now volunteers will be helping to reverse the decline by rebuilding collapsed lock walls, clearing out earth and debris from the lock chambers, installing new wooden gates and refilling with water.
The open day runs from 11am until 4pm on Saturday 4th July at Woolsthorpe Carpenter’s Shop, Duck Lane, Woolsthorpe by Belvoir, NG32 1NY. For more details go to www.granthamcanal.org