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The charity making life better by water

North Wales and Borders canals are popular hot spots with boaters

North Wales and Borders canals are among the busiest in Britain, according to an annual survey of lock usage we've published.

Llangollen Canal

In 2017, we recorded a total 3.8 million lockages, across 1,586 working locks, dotted along the 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales cared for by us. Our average lock holds 123,000 litres of water, equivalent to 492,000 cups of tea or 820 bathtubs. Each lockage measures a full cycle of emptying and filling a lock.

The busiest lock again last year was Hillmorton Lock on the Oxford Canal but coming a close second, with 8,831 lockages, was New Marton Lock on the Llangollen Canal. Cholmondeston and Wardle Locks on the Shropshire Union Canal were ranked third and fifth respectively. And eighth popular on the list was Hurleston, Lock One on the Llangollen.

David Baldacchino, our waterway manager for North Wales and Borders, said: "The Llangollen and Shropshire Union canals are two of the most beautiful man-made waterways in Britain. They offer boaters a wide variety of rural scenery from rolling pastures to dramatic hills and, of course, the chance to cruise across stunning structures like Pontcysyllte and Chirk Aqueducts, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"The lock statistics provide us with a great measure for how many boaters are using specific canals. Popular canals have a double advantage. Boats add very positively to the vibrancy of our waterways and boaters themselves are important for the visitor economy, particularly in tourist destinations.

"There are currently more boats using the network than at any time in history – even more than during the heydays of the Industrial Revolution. Maintaining our canals, many of which are more than 200 years old, is a constant challenge and requires a huge amount of investment and effort from our staff and volunteers."


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Last Edited: 20 February 2018

photo of a location on the canals
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