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News article created on 4 January 2013

Slippage on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal

Over the Christmas period a section of embankment on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line near the village of Foxton slipped into the water and blocked approximately 60 metres of canal to passing boats.

The towpath will remain open to walkers and cyclists and we hope to have this stretch of canal open to boats too within a week of the works starting. Jeff Whyatt

We're carrying out investigations to find out the exact cause of this slippage. Initial findings suggest that the embankment above the canal may have become unstable as a result of the recent prolonged rain which saturated the ground causing a section opposite the towpath to slip downhill and into the canal.

Our maintenance staff will be on site from Monday 7 January and will start the work of dredging a channel through the centre of the blocked canal to allow the waterway to reopen to passing boats as soon as possible.

As this stretch of canal is ecologically rich and within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, we will be working with Natural England to clear some reeds from the towpath side as well as removing any small trees that have moved with the slipped embankment. 

Best permanent repair

Jeff Whyatt, senior manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We are currently planning a temporary solution as we can’t remove all the dislodged material from the canal while the land above remains so wet. To do so could destabilise the embankment further and cause more slippage into the canal.

“By dredging the centre section and the towpath side of the canal we will be creating enough space for boaters to navigate this stretch, and at the same time working out the best permanent repair for the embankment. The towpath will remain open to walkers and cyclists and we hope to have this stretch of canal open to boats too within a week of the works starting. It is too early to predict how much the repairs are going to cost the charity to repair.”