We will be replacing three massive lock gates on the Green Flag award-winning Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal this month.
The new lock gates, which weigh a total of 5.4 tonnes, will replace existing gates, at Lock 64, which have reached the end of their 20-year lifespan.
The work began with a specialist fish rescue to temporarily relocate resident tench, pike and bream in the canal. The lock, and a 450m stretch of the canal, will then be drained and over the next four weeks and the new, hand-crafted, lock gates will be installed by our lock gate experts.
With each gate weighing as much as a small elephant the team requires some heavy lifting power. This is supplied by a 17 tonne crane that will be brought to site to manoeuvre the gates in and out of the lock. The massive bottom gates measure 5.2m tall by 2m wide while the top one is 1.6m tall by 2.5m wide
Replacing lock gates is a key part of our winter programme of works, ensuring that the 200-year old canal is boat-ready and boater-friendly. And, because no two locks are the same size, each gate is individually made at the our workshop in the West Midlands. There a team of carpenters use traditional methods to transform sustainably grown green oak, together with steel brackets, into bespoke lock gates.
Mark Evans, Glandŵr Cymru director, explains the importance of the work: “This year we’re spending almost £1 million on our winter works programme in Wales, including this one at lock 64. These vital repairs, replacements and refurbishments take on a greater significance this year as many people have discovered our waterways, exercising on the towpaths during lockdown and taking staycation hire boat holidays. Set against the challenges of the pandemic, and with research showing being by the water improves wellbeing, it has never been more important to keep the waterways open and available.”