From today boaters will once again be able to navigate the River Avon between Bristol and Bath, after a large quantity of silt, built-up throughout a torrid winter of downpours and flooding, has been removed from Hanham Lock.
The lock has been closed since October due to excessively high water levels, which carried silt and debris down the river, jamming the lock gates shut.
We have carried out this work in time for the start of the main boating season, which will see hundreds of boats navigate this stretch of the Avon throughout spring, summer and autumn.
In addition to removing the silt we have also cleared trees, branches and detritus from the cutting and lock gates, which acts as a natural collection point for floating debris along the river.
We had aimed to have completed the dredging sooner, so that people could use the section over the winter. However, the continued high water levels meant it was unsafe to do the work.
Dale Marshall, Canal & River Trust works planner, said: “Everyone has suffered with the horrific weather this winter and unfortunately the Kennet & Avon Canal has been no different, with the river sections bearing the brunt.
“Hanham Lock is the gateway to the Kennet & Avon Canal, so we are pleased to get the dredging work completed, and when the sunshine arrives people can, once again, start enjoying the warmer days on the river.”
Our ecologists and environmental scientists worked closely with the Environment Agency to monitor water quality and biodiversity within the river as the work was carried out.