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News article created on 24 August 2017

Rare opportunity to sail back in time in traditional coracle at Pocklington Canal Discovery Day

We are hosting a special Discovery Day of free family-friendly drop-in activities on the Pocklington Canal, taking place from 10am until 4pm on Saturday 2 September.

Enjoying coracle sailing on the canal

The rare opportunity to explore the landlocked Canal Head from the water whilst navigating the canal in a traditional coracle looks set to be a highlight of the day’s activities.

Considered to be the oldest form of water transportation dating back centuries, the construction of coracles has remained largely unchanged in modern times. The small, circular traditional solo vessel is propelled by a paddle, like a kayak or canoe. A basketwork frame made using willow or hazel wood is covered either in animal hide, natural cotton canvas (calico) or a synthetic fabric such as nylon sealed to make them watertight. Effective fishing boats, coracles are still used for this purpose, particularly in South Wales.

Willow weaving, guided nature walks around Canal Head with expert ecologist Phil Taylor of Eco Sapien, pond-dipping and a heritage trail with prizes will also be part of the free, family fun on offer.

Pocklington Canal Discovery Day marks the end of Pocklington’s Big Summer events programme and the first 12 months of the Gem in the Landscape project - a three-year programme of activity supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund which includes wildlife habitat improvements, heritage restoration activities and events.

Lizzie Dealey, our project officer said: "Pocklington Canal is a wonderful, picturesque waterway, yet it remains a hidden gem. Over the past year our charity began a three-year project, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore and reveal the history and ecology of this waterway, from the restoration of Church Bridge, to an archaeology dig, making initial habitat improvements with dredging and a summer events programme. I hope people will come and learn more about this stunning, historic canal at our Discovery Day, with even more exciting announcements planned ahead of its bicentenary in 2018."