Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

We urge drivers to slow down at historic canal bridges

We're calling on motorists to slow down when crossing the centuries-old hump-back bridges that span the East Midlands’ canal network.

New brick work on a bridge

The call comes as the charity’s experts complete a £100,000 project to repair the latest damaged bridge.

Major repair work completed

With our historic waterways under increasing pressure from rising costs and the impacts of climate change, we are warning that damage caused by reckless motorists not only harms the historic fabric of the region’s canals but unnecessarily diverts resources away from vital maintenance needed to protect and keep open the ageing canal network.

We have just completed repairs to Barrow Bridge on the Trent & Mersey Canal after a driver caused major damage to the parapet, knocking brickwork into the canal below. The centuries old bridge, built to allow horse and carts to cross the canal, is still in use today but has been hit sixteen times in 20 years by modern traffic.

We have spent the past four weeks recovering bricks and carefully rebuilding the bridge. Due to the narrow width of the bridge the road had to be closed throughout the works but has reopened on completion of the works.

Each year we have to fund over £1million of repairs to historic canal bridges across the country after they’ve been damaged by reckless or careless drivers. In most cases these are hit-and-run accidents, leaving the charity unable to recoup its cost from driver’s insurers, and having to divert resources away from other vital work to look after the canal network.

New brick workon a bridge

An important part of our local heritage

Linny Beaumont, our regional director for the East Midlands, said: “Canal bridges, which date back hundreds of years, are such an important part of our local heritage and character so it’s heart-breaking to see them damaged in such a careless way.

“At a time when the costs associated with caring for the nation’s historic waterways are increasing, and we’re appealing for more people to support our vital work, it’s hugely frustrating that we’re having to divert time and money into repairs such as this.

“If motorists just slowed down a bit and took more care and attention then they would save themselves and us a lot of cost and aggravation and help us to keep canals alive for future generations.”

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

Support our work

We need your support to keep canals and rivers alive. Donate today to make a difference

Last Edited: 11 June 2024

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration