The charity making life better by water

We've begun work to protect West Midlands' historic waterways this winter

We're starting a four-month programme of repairs as part of its ongoing work to protect and preserve West Midlands’ historic waterways.

A workman fixing a new lock gate in a drained canal

The winter schedule of works, which will continue until March, will see us expert teams replace worn-out lock gates, repair historic bridges, and carry out a host of tasks to keep the region's 250-year-old network in good working order.

The programme

The programme includes:

Braving the elements

Jon Horsfall, our acting regional director, said: “Our skilled teams will be braving the elements this winter carrying out the important ongoing repair and conservation work that is vital to keep the canals across the West Midlands open, safe, and accessible for boaters and local communities.

“With research telling us that time spent by the water can help us all to feel happier and more relaxed, it's vital that we keep these special places open and safe for us all to enjoy both now and for future generations. So, the work our charity is doing this winter will help ensure that the region's waterways continue to bring real benefits to people's lives.

“With the support of volunteers and the financial assistance from partners and doners, we'll be replacing lock gates and painstakingly repairing historic brickwork; continuing our work to ensure that our wonderful waterways are protected and never again fall back into the dark days of canal dereliction and decline that was the story of the early and mid-20th century.”

The lock gates on the West Midlands' waterways weigh several tonnes and typically last around 25 years. Each new gate is hand-crafted in our specialist workshops at Bradley in the West Midlands, or Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire, and is made to measure from seasoned oak so that it fits perfectly in each historic lock chamber.

This winter we are investing more than £50 million on waterways across England and Wales with £13 million being invested across the West Midlands.

Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

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Last Edited: 01 December 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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