The charity making life better by water

Repairs underway for storm-damaged Woodside Mills Lock landing and towpath in Elland

Repairs to the Calder & Hebble Navigation in the heart of the West Yorkshire’s Calder Valley have taken an important step forward this spring, three years after Storm Ciara caused significant flood damage to our historic waterways.

Repairs at Woodside Mills

We've started work on the final significant repairs to safeguard the navigation through Elland, which in recent years has been particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Effects of climate change

Three years ago, the Calder & Hebble Navigation sustained major damage during Storm Ciara, including Woodside Lock Landing and towpath being washed away and Figure of Three Locks becoming the most damaged single structure across our entire network when flood water from the River Calder overtopped, causing £3million worth of damage.

The restoration of Figure of Three Locks and the washed out towpath was completed in April 2022, and now, with vital funding secured thanks to the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, work has begun on a £507,000 programme of repairs at Woodside Lock, where a 30-metre section of collapsed lock landing and towpath is being repaired. The works are anticipated to be completed by the end of summer.

Staff at Woodside Mills

Repairing and retaining

The heritage works include repairing the storm-damaged lock landing and retaining wall along the towpath edge and resurfacing the towpath along the entire length, with our specialists re-using and replacing the existing original stone.

Because of the location and limited access, we're delivering materials and carrying out the majority of work from the water, using a boat and floating pontoon. Signage is also in place to inform visitors about the works and local heritage highlights.

Georgian waterways at risk

Sean McGinley, our director for Yorkshire & North East said: “Our charity is tirelessly working to protect and preserve the region's Georgian waterways which, as well as being around 250-years-old, are also increasingly at risk from extreme weather conditions caused by climate change.

“We are delighted to have secured vital funding awarded by Postcode Earth Trust, thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery. This is much-needed support as the repairs from the effects of flooding are costly and time consuming. Whilst there will be some disruption for boats on our navigation and people on the towpath, it is great to be able to complete these vital repairs.”

The repairs are taking place close to the former Woodside Flour Mill, believed to be the largest flour mill in Yorkshire in 1890. Boats used the canal to deliver grain, which was made into flour to supply bakeries in Halifax and beyond. Now derelict, the ruins provide a historic architectural link to the past and a destination for many users of the navigation today.

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 31 March 2023

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