From Date: 23/07/2018 12:45
To Date: 04/11/2018 00:00 inclusive
Type: Navigation Restriction
Reason: Water resources
Is the towpath closed? No
Closest waterway: Macclesfield Canal
Starts at: Lock 1
Ends at: Lock 12
In the latter half of September the Macclesfield & Peak Forest Canal reservoirs have benefited from significant rainfall, resulting in an increase in water levels both in the reservoirs and the canal. We appreciate this summer has seen significant disruption to our boating customers and many need to return to home and winter moorings. We are now in a position to re-open the canal at the Bosley Flight on 6th October.
However to try and conserve water, we will initially operate with restrictions between 8am and 1pm daily
• Last passage at lock 1 and lock 12 will be at 1pm, this is to allow our teams to assist boats through the flight.
We will review these restrictions during the first week with the aim of removing them as soon as possible.
The Bosley Flight will then close on the 5th November to allow the winter works at Locks 8 and Lock 12 to be completed. (The winter works stoppage notices will be updated to reflect time duration changes).
Although some rainfall has occurred over recent weeks, low levels of rainfall have persisted throughout August and are forecasted to continue through the latter part of September, this has impacted on the reservoir holdings which are still extremely low. At least 5 weeks of prolonged rainfall would be required before holdings were to reach a sustainable water level to consider reopening of the Macclesfield Canal. Therefore, it is anticipated that it is unlikely that the Bosley Flight will re-open until at least the end of October, possibly later if we don’t experience any significant and prolonged rainfall over the coming weeks. We have opened up discussions with the Environment Agency regarding temporary abstractions to protecting the canal environment, these abstractions will not be for the purpose of supporting navigation.
The Bosley flight is padlocked closed and the gates have been ashed up to reduce leakage. To prevent unauthorised use, measures have been taken to make the locks inoperable. While the closure will prevent use of that stretch of canal by boats the towpath will remain open for visitors and the local community alike to enjoy.
While we have had the canal closed our teams have been taking advantage of the lock closures to deliver a large programme of works to remedy some of the usability issues on the locks. Works have included leakage repairs on the gates. We have also completed gate replacement works at lock 5, wash wall repairs between locks 5 and 6. Taking the current situation in to consideration we have chosen to bring forward our winter works programme for the following locks, lock 3, lock 5, lock 6. We will now deliver these works during September while the lock flight remains closed.
We will provide a further update on the water situation at the end September, if the water resources have still not improved we will review the opportunity to bring forward the planned winter works at Locks 8 and Lock 12.
This does mean that customers wishing to access or leave Macclesfield canal won’t be able to do so until the stoppage works have been concluded and the reservoir holdings have improved.
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 implementing restrictions on the Macclesfield Canal from today, Monday 23 July.
The Bosley Flight (locks 1 to 12) will be restricted to the period between 8am and 2pm. Whilst this will conserve water in the short term, we expect to temporarily close the canal at Bosley on Monday 13 August (last passage through the Bosley flight will be Sunday 12th August). The rest of the Macclesfield Canal (below Bosley) will remain unrestricted.
It’s not clear how long the future closure will last for but it’s likely to be throughout August and potentially beyond if there are not 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.
Please note that the Marple Flight on the Peak Forest Canal is already closed due to further movement in the lock walls at Lock 11 and will remain closed until the walls can be re-built. Additionally, we are closing off access to Bugsworth Basin, commencing on Monday 13 August.
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.