Rochdale Canal at Lock 48 to Lock 1

Notice Details
From Date:
27th July 2018 at 07:00
To Date:
until further notice
Navigation Closure
Water resources
Notice updates:
27/07/2018 @ 10:39

With regret, due to the serious shortfall in the water supply, we are having to bring forward the temporary closure of a large section of the Rochdale Canal with immediate effect as the hot, dry weather continues. Even if there is some welcome rainfall this weekend it is unlikely to make any immediate difference to the Canal water levels in the short term.

The temporary closure between locks 1 and 48 (from Sowerby Bridge to Littleborough) was due to take effect from Monday 6 August; however in practice, with water supplies continuing to decline, we can no longer support anything other than very local boat traffic in this section. The closure will also now include the stretch between locks 6 and 19 which we had originally planned to keep open under restriction for a period each day. We appreciate that the boats moored between Locks 6-19 require access to boating facilities. To support this we will be operating a booking system 7 days a week between 12pm and 2pm, this is to conserve water and maintain levels. We will allow two boats per day.

Should water supplies increases we will be able to review the number of boats we can assist through this section. All bookings must be made 24 hours in advance, weekend bookings must be made by no later than 4:00pm on Fridays.

All bookings are subject to change due to water levels. This booking system is only to allow our customers to get access to boating facilities at Hebden bridge below lock 9.

To make a booking please call our Red Bull office on 0303 0404 040



Due to the continued drawdown of the reservoirs because of prolonged low rainfall and with the forecast for further dry weather, the Trust is reluctantly closing sections of the Rochdale Canal between locks 1 and 48 (from Sowerby Bridge to Littleborough), commencing on Monday 6 August. A short stretch of the navigation between locks 6 and 19 (east of Mytholmroyd to Todmorden) is an exception and will be restricted to the period between 10am and 2pm under a local booking system. 

The locks, 19 to 48, will be padlocked closed and the gates will be ashed up to reduce leakage. To prevent use, measures will be taken to make the locks inoperable. 

It’s not clear how long the closure will last for but it’s likely to be throughout August and potentially beyond if there aren’t significant and sustained periods of rainfall. While the closure will prevent through navigation of the canal by boats, the towpath will remain open for visitors and the local community to enjoy. 

In the meantime, boaters can help conserve water by: 

    • Sharing locks where possible and making the best use of the water available.
    • Ensuring paddles are fully closed once they’ve passed through a lock.
    • Aiming for minimal contact when navigating through locks by ensuring gates are fully open as they pass through.
    • Pushing gates open using a boat can damage the gate lining, increasing its leakage.


Rochdale Canal
Starts At:
Lock 48
Ends At:
Lock 1
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