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The charity making life better by water

Yorkshire waterways to get £10 million winter makeover

We are investing £10 million on a four-month programme of repairs on Yorkshire and the North East’s historic waterways.

Above shot of workers lifting lock gate

The work

As part of the programme, which will continue until March, our expert teams will be replacing lock gates, dredging sections of canal and carrying out a host of tasks to keep the 200-year old network working.

The work will also include flood resilience measures, in addition to repairs being carried out on the Figure of Three Lock on the Calder & Hebble near Dewsbury, and Rochdale Canal towpath, both of which were badly damaged in February's storms.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, we are unable to offer our usual Open Days for visitors to get a behind-the-scenes on-site view of the canal repairs and conservation work in progress. However, we have produced a Virtual Open Day of work being carried out at Lock 42 on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Marsden.

Virtual Open Days

The Virtual Open Day will show a series of short films give a fascinating insight into how old lock gates are replaced, including drone footage of the new ones being lifted in by crane. Made at the Trust's lock gate workshop at Stanley Ferry near Wakefield, the new oak gates are five metres high and weigh 1.6 tonnes each.

The videos also show the hidden ecology of the canals, work done by the Trust's volunteers and show off Standedge Tunnel, one of the Wonders of the Waterways.

The programme of canals works being undertaken this winter includes:

  • New lock gates and lock chamber repairs at Lock 42, Marsden, on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
  • New lock gates at locks 23 and 24 at Thorpe on the Chesterfield Canal.
  • Repairs to balance beams, ground paddles and fendering at Birkwood Lock on the Wakefield branch of the Aire & Calder Navigation.
  • Replacement of a sluice door and re-lining of the bywash culvert next to Salterhebble Aqueduct on the Calder & Hebble Navigation.
  • Repairs to lock chamber and wash wall to prevent leakage and structural deterioration at locks 6 and 7 at Elland on the Calder & Hebble Navigation.
  • Repairs to wall and gate heel at Bridge 3 on Misterton Station Road on the Chesterfield Canal.
  • Repairs at Bingley Five Rise including gate repairs to reduce leakage.
  • Replacement of Moss Swing Bridge at Rodley on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
  • Investigation work for Rotherham Flood Alleviation Scheme on behalf of Rotherham Council. At Forge Island, Rotherham, on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.

Improving our infrastructure

Sean McGinley, regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “This winter's works are obviously important for boaters, however, with research telling us that time spent by the water can help us all to feel happier and more relaxed, the works will also contribute to improving people's mental and physical well-being when using the towpath too.

“Our waterways have offered a really important lifeline for so many people this year, providing the perfect spots for local recreation, exercise or just to unwind. That's why it's so important that we keep them open and safe for everyone to use, whether you're out on your boat or enjoying a waterside stroll.

“By carrying out these works we will be protecting our historic waterways for future generations and ensuring that they can make a real difference to people's lives today.”

This winter the Trust is investing more than £45 million on waterways across England and Wales. For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust, including how to support through volunteering or making a donation, go to

Last Edited: 04 January 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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