Canal News 2007 (2) July - December

Restoration now underway at Salford!

Updated 16th November 2007

Middlewood Locks development - Photo: John Fletcher
New wash walls above Lock 3

Work is now underway re-constructiing the Manchester Bolton and Bury canal through the new Middlewood Locks development in Salford.

The section of the canal route from the junction with the River Irwell, through East Ordsall Lane Bridge, almost to Oldfield Road is being restored as part of the redevelopment of the area.

A single deep lock situated to the west of the railway will replace the original first two locks of the canal, to enable the canal to pass under the Salford Inner Relief Road.

A new tunnel beneath the Inner Relief Road is to be named the Margaret Fletcher Tunnel, after the late chairman of the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society, who successfully secured funding for its design and construction.

The canal between the River Irwell and Oldfield Road is expected to be complete by Summer 2008, but construction work alongside the canal route means that the canal will not be open to boats straight away.

A complete set of photos of the restoration progress can be seen here.

New Bridge Named!

5th November 2007

newly named bridge in Leeds
Photo: BW

The new footbridge across the River Aire by the Armouries in Leeds has been given a name!

British Waterways invited suggestions for a name from local communities, schoolchildren or individuals.

The winning name was thought up by ten-year old Maria Anderson, from Leeds, and will appear on a plaque to be mounted on the bridge.

The winning name - Knight's Way Bridge - won the votes of the panel of judges, made up of representatives from British Waterways, Leeds City Council, The Clarence Dock Company Ltd and the Royal Armouries Museum. Maria thought of the name because it was close to the Royal Armouries Museum.

Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and Secretary of State for the Environment congratulated Maria, cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque when he officially opened the bridge on 2nd November 2007. He said: "I would like to congratulate Maria on coming up with such a great name for this wonderful new bridge. This will be a great addition to the City."

The bridge spans the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation near the Royal Armouries and links the Clarence Basin area with the city centre.

Photo shows Maria celebrating with two knights in armour, watched by Tony Hales (Chairman, British Waterways), Councillor Ryk Downes (Lead Member for Development, Leeds), The Rt. Hon. Hilary Benn (MP for Leeds Central and Secretary of State for the Environment), Martin Kent (Clarence Dock) and Peter Armstrong (Royal Armouries Museum).

Hirst Swing Bridge replaced

30th October 2007

Hirst Swing Bridge, photo: BW

Hirst Swing Bridge, between Shipley and Bingley, has been replaced with a new swing bridge.

The bridge has been troublesome for a while and caused problems earlier in the year when it jammed in the closed position. The pintle beam of the bridge had collapsed, making it inoperable by boaters.

A large crane was brought onto the site to lift the new £240,000 replacement bridge into place.

During the period when the bridge was out of use, British Waterways had to create an alternative route for offside businesses and residential properties across the adjacent playing fields of Saltaire Sports Association , so that the bridge could be left in the open position to allow navigation to continue.

The bridge should be operable by the end of October so that residents and visitors to the garden centre can resume their normal route across the bridge.

Photo: Courtesy of BW. Crane lifting new bridge into position.

New Gates for Bingley Three-Rise Locks

25th October 2007

Bingley Three-Rise Locks

Bingley Three Rise Locks, half a mile down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from the famous Bingley Five Rise locks, is to have replacement gates fitted in the next few weeks.

On 5th November a team from British Waterways will to start to remove the oak gates with a crane. The new sets of gates, manufactured at British Waterways' own workshop in Stanley Ferry, will be installed by Christmas as part of the organisation's annual winter maintenance programme. During the repair work, there will be towpath restrictions and the canal will be closed to boating traffic between 5th November and 15th December.

The Three Rise Lock staircase was built in 1773 and is a Grade II* listed structure. It has particularly large gates, the heaviest weighing 5.5 tonnes. The staircase has three lock chambers and four pairs of gates.

Laurence Morgan of British Waterways said: "This operation involves draining the locks first, and getting a sufficiently strong crane on site to lift the worn gates out and replace them with the new ones. This is a very complicated and delicate operation as we need to make sure the crane doesn't damage the infrastructure of the canal or the towpath. On average lock gates last 25 years but it does depend on the wear and tear and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is one of our busiest waterways."

Praise for Standedge

October 25th 2007

Standedge Tunnel

Standedge Tunnel has been praised for being a "well managed attraction offering an excellent overall visitor experience".

The commendation comes in a recent quality assessment report by the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service (VAQAS).

The staff at Standedge were commended for "sharing their pride in the attraction for the benefit of visitors" and for their warm welcome. The inspector also singled out the guided tour on the boat as "excellent" with a good clear delivery of the commentary by the guide which contained considerable information sprinkled with humour.

There was also praise for the provision of detailed and clear signage and displays, including the brass rubbing pedestal which encourages children to interact, and the display in Tunnel End Cottages featuring the history of the locality.

The site was described as "litter free with excellent planting and giving an overall very welcoming feel".

Janet Baverstock of British Waterways said: "This really puts the icing on the cake as regards our achievements this year. Despite the disappointing weather, Standedge has enjoyed another good year with a series of varied events which give added value to visitors to the site. I am pleased to say that the comments we see in the Visitors' Book and feedback face to face bear out the praise in the report.

"All credit goes to our staff, and also to the volunteers from organisations such as the Huddersfield Canal Society and the Horseboating Society, whose enthusiasm and dedication have helped make Standedge the success we have enjoyed again this year."

Standedge was also a finalist in this year's Yorkshire Tourist Board White Rose Awards (Visitor Attraction under 50,000 category) and runner-up in British Waterways' national Waterways Excellence Awards.

Hunting the Ghosts of Standedge!

October 24th 2007

David Vee

One of Britain's top ghosthunters, David Vee, has been called in to investigate paranormal activity on Standedge's very first "Fright Night".

On Saturday 27th October, David and members of his paranormal team will be exploring inside the mysterious tunnel and holding vigils inside the visitor centre.

The event starts at 8:00 pm and will finish at 3:00 am and those lucky enough to have got tickets should arrive 15 minutes beforehand. The evening will be split into two tunnel trips, a ghost walk around the site and David will also be presenting some of his findings, including some voice recordings on a recent visit to Britain's most haunted house, Chingle Hall in Lancashire, before exploring the Visitor Centre's supernatural activity.

The Hallowe'en Fright Night is limited to 60 people at a cost of £35 per head. Places can be reserved by telephoning the Standedge team on 01484 844298. Cheques should be made payable to British Waterways and sent to Simon Henry, Marketing and Communications Assistant, British Waterways, Fearns Wharf, Neptune Street, Leeds, LS9 8PB.

Janet Baverstock, Business Development Manager for British Waterways Yorkshire, said: "David visited us earlier in the year for a trip into the tunnel and was so intrigued and excited with Standedge that he wanted to come back to hold an investigation. Standedge is steeped in history - for example, during the construction of the tunnel, many of the navvies lost their lives due to the dangerous working conditions, so who knows, they could have decided that the tunnel would be their final resting place!"

People attending the Fright Night must be over 16 years old and will need to bring suitable warm clothing and footwear and a packed lunch. Non-alcoholic drinks will be provided.

David has dedicated his life to researching and documenting paranormal activity and admits to having seen over 3,000 ghosts. He saw his first ghost when he was just five years old and ever since he has been fascinated by them. In 1987, David founded Ghosts-UK and began investigating paranormal activity in various haunted locations around the country.

David said: "I have always believed that there is something more than just what we see in front of us. Ghosts are ordinary people and how you see them depends as much on you, as it does on the ghost."

"The event at Standedge is a great opportunity for anyone who is curious about ghosts to get an understanding of what we do on an investigation. Standedge is a great prospect for us as it has real history and an air of mystery. I picked up on some activity around the site when I visited recently, particularly in the tunnel, so I can't wait to lead people on this journey and see what we can discover."

In addition to the "Fright Night" event, Hallowe'en themed boat trips will be running into the tunnel on Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th, Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st October.

Tesco moves wine by Manchester Ship Canal

22nd October 2007

One of the new barges passing Liverpool's waterfront.

One of the new barges passing Liverpool's waterfront.

Tesco has announced that it is now using the Manchester Ship Canal to move 1.8 million litres of wine each week.

The cargo service started on 18th October. Two container barges are used on a shuttle between Seaforth Container Terminal, Merseyside, and Irlam Container Terminal, in Salford.

Cargoes of wine from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina are arriving at Seaforth, where the containers are re-loaded on to the barges for the journey up the canal to Irlam, from which they are taken to Kingsland Wines and Spirits bottling plant, less than half a mile away, where they are packed for Tesco supermarkets across the country.

The wine was previously unloaded at southern ports, such as Felixstowe, and transported overland to the Kingsland plant.

The two boats used for the shuttle service are operated by Seaborn Container Line, who have invested £1.8million in the scheme. Seaborn's Graham Salt said that the scheme is a perfect example of how a company's carbon footprint can be dramatically reduced by switching from road to water.

Tesco claims that the move will take 50 lorries a week off the roads and cut carbon emmisions for moving the cargo by 80 per cent.

Tesco's Laurie McIlwee said: "We are continually reviewing alternative green methods of transporting cargo and this is our first waterborne project within the UK. We are already looking at other areas where we can move freight on waterways."

In 2006 Tesco became the first UK retailer to move significant volumes of goods from road to rail when it introduced its purpose-built "green" trains to carry products between the Midlands and Scotland.

Hirst Swing Bridge to be replaced

10th October 2007

Hirst Swing Bridge

The troublesome Hirst Swing Bridge, between Shipley and Bingley, is to be replaced with a new bridge.

The bridge caused problems earlier in the year when it jammed in the closed position. The pintle beam of the bridge had collapsed, making it inoperable by boaters.

British Waterways had to create an alternative route for offside businesses and residential properties across the adjacent playing fields of Saltaire Sports Association , so that the bridge could be left in the open position to allow navigation to continue.

Work to begin installing the £240,000 replacement bridge begins on Monday 15th October.

British Waterways kept in contact with the residents and businesses affected. It was originally expected that the bridge would be open by August but delays meant that the installation is only now taking place.

Name a Bridge for BW!

9th October 2007

new bridge in Leeds
Photo: BW

British Waterways is inviting people to think of a name for a new footbridge in Leeds!

The bridge spans the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation near the Royal Armouries and links the Clarence Basin area with the city centre.

Suggestions for a name are invited from local communities, schoolchildren or individuals and the winning name will appear on a plaque to be mounted on the bridge.

Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and Secretary of State for International Development will congratulate the winner, cut the ribbon and unveil the plaque when he officially opens the bridge on Friday 2nd November.

Clarence Dock's Simon Kidd said: "The bridge was one of three to be erected by us in 2005 as part of developing 1.2 million sq ft around Clarence Dock. It is only the second to be installed across the River Aire in the last 100 years and offers pedestrian and cyclist access from the city centre core to Clarence Dock. It seems fitting that the public should be offered the opportunity to name it and I look forward to seeing the entries."

Suggestions for the name of the bridge, together with a brief explanation as to why it is being chosen (up to maximum of 50 words), should be sent by the closing date of 5pm on October 26th by visiting: or by post to: Lesley Grogan, British Waterways, Fearns Wharf, Neptune Street, Leeds, LS9 8PB

The winner will need to be available for the launch ceremony on Friday 2nd November at 10.00 am

Waterways Yours to Enjoy

9th October 2007

new bridge in Leeds
Photo: BW

A waterside display of Tai Chi marked the start of British Waterways' campaign to promote the waterway system as something that is everyone's to enjoy.

Instructor Colin Hamilton led the display which took place at Clarence Dock, Leeds, on 8th October. Other events will be taking place at other locations around the country, to encourage people to discover and start using their local canals and rivers.

A recent YouGov poll for British Waterways revealed that, while 50 per cent of people are aware that they live within five miles of a canal or river, only three per cent are currently visiting them.

BW wants to encourage people to take a fresh look at their local waterside by showing them ways in which inland waterways can enhance their everyday lives as attractive places to exercise, eat out, walk to work, exercise the dog or eat lunch.

Reservoir Repairs at Foulridge

September 26th 2007

Foulridge Reservoir, Leeds and Liverpool Canal  (Photo: BW)
Preparations underway at Foulridge Reservoir (Photo: BW)

Engineering work has now started to refurbish Upper Foulridge Reservoir, near Colne.

The reservoir, built in 1866, is close to Foulridge Tunnel and feeds the summit level of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The work is expected to last four months and includes the replacement of valves, pipework, repairs to the embankment and sealing of leakage to spillway. The pedestrian access bridge to the valve tower will also be replaced.

Morrison Construction is carrying out the £1.3m work for British Waterways.

In addition to the refurbishment, works is also being carried out to improve safety and operation. Public access to the reservoir will be closed during the construction work.

John Ackroyd, BW's Senior Project Manager, said that the works will ensure that the reservoir can operate efficiently and safely for the next 100 years.

Loss of Rubbish Facility at Hebden Bridge

September 25th 2007

An important facility for boaters has been lost on the Rochdale Canal.

Calderdale Council has asked British Waterways to remove the refuse skip at Hebden Bridge visitor moorings by 26th September 2007. The skip had been placed on Calderdale land with their previous agreement, as an essential refuse facility for boaters to use.

The council needs the area to be vacated to allow essential building works at the adjacent cinema building.

British Waterways does not have any alternative land to re-house the skip or to provide a lower level facility at the same site. British Waterways therefore says that, unfortunately, this facility cannot be replaced.

British Waterways has stated that it will endeavour to source an alternative refuse facility as close as possible to Hebden Bridge. In the meantime, the nearest BW alternative refuse site can be found at Todmorden Service Station, 4.5 miles and 10 locks to the west.

Emergency Stoppages at Johnson's Hillock and Parbold

September 24th 2007, updated September 26th

Lock 61, Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Lock 61 at Johnson's Hillock

An emergency stoppage is needed at Lock 61 at Johnson's Hillock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (between Chorley and Wheelton).

The stoppage is needed to carry out repair works to the head gate cill.

Works to repair the damaged cill have already started and navigation is due to be reopened by 5.00 pm on Wednesday 26th September.

The lock flight will be locked up during the work. Boaters are advised to moor up. Alternatively, winding points are between Bridges 79 and 80 or at Riley Green (Bridge 91a).

A second stoppage has been announced for the canal between Parbold and Appley Bridge (west of Wigan).

A tree has fallen in high winds, blocking the navigation and towpath between Bridges 40 and 41.

BW estimates that the blockage will be cleared and the canal reopened by 5.00 pm on Wednesday 26th September.

Anyone requiring further information should call BW on 01942 405700.

Update: The tree has been removed and the Lock 61 cill repair completed. The canal has now re-opened at both locations.

A Grand(parents) Day Out

September 23rd 2007

Councillor Hussain and grandchildren
Councillor Karam Hussain with his grandchildren

British Waterways organised a special celebration for Grandparents' Day at Standedge Tunnel.

To mark the day, grandparents and their grandchildren were invited to take a trip into the tunnel together. They were given a free piece of Standedge Rock, along with a certificate!

The Deputy Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Karam Hussain, came along with his grandchildren for a ride (see photo, right).

And, as their contribution to the World's Largest Coffee Morning, which raises funds for MacMillan Cancer Support, BW donated part of the price of each cup of tea or coffee sold to the cause.

There was face painting and a bouncy castle for the grandchildren.

For all ages, members of the Horseboating Society demonstrated how a boat horse was harnessed (with Bonny the Boathorse modelling) and talked about the skills used by boatmen in bygone days.

Restricted hours at Pollington Lock

12th September 2007

Pollington Lock

Boaters using the Aire and Calder Navigation east of Castleford should be aware of restricted hours that are currently in place at Pollington Lock.

Pollington Lock consists of three sets of gates so that both chambers can be used when there is a long vessel. One of the chambers is normally boater operated when there is no lock keeper present.

However, due to a sluice failure on the self operating chamber, all leisure vessels will, until further notice, be worked through by BW Lock Keepers.

This means that boats will only be able to pass through during the lock keeper's working hours of 8.00 am to 4.00 pm (both on weekdays and weekends).

You can phone British Waterways on 0113 281 6860 for the latest information.

London to Huddersfield Towpath Walk for Charity

10th September 2007

Richard Hakier and Rebecca Sellens stride through Stalybridge on the last day of their walk.
Richard Hakier and Rebecca Sellens stride through Stalybridge on the last day of their walk.

Richard and Rebecca leave Stalybridge and head for the hills along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Richard and Rebecca leave Stalybridge and head for the hills along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Two energetic young people have just completed a mammoth towpath walk to raise money for charity!

Richard Hakier and Rebecca Sellens, both 26, set out from London on 1st September to walk the 230 miles via canal towpaths to Huddersfield, where their familes are based.

Richard and Rebecca have done the walk in memory of their grandmothers, who both died from cancer. So far they have raised over £3,000 for the charity "Breast Cancer Care".

You can make a donation by visiting their page at the Just Giving website.

Richard said "When our grans were ill, we travelled from London to Huddersfield to visit them as often as possible. This time that same journey will take on a whole new significance." Richard, a presenter on LBC radio in London, lost his gran in October 2000.

Rebecca's gran, Pam, died last year after a long fight with breast cancer. "My gran was the type of lady who didn't talk about her health, mainly because she was scared to. When she found a lump, she hid it and it cost her dearly. Breast Cancer Care do a great job in getting the message out there that help is available, and we shouldn't be scared to get it."

The pair have taken ten days to cover the 230 miles, making it the equivalent of walking a marathon every day! Both were feeling the strain on the last leg of their journey. They have stayed at Bed and Breakfast establishments or with friends along the route. They carried a variety of clothing to suit whatever the weather threw at them but luckily it stayed dry throughout the walk!

The route has taken them through Uxbridge, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Tamworth, Stoke on Trent, Macclesfield and Marple.

One of the highlights of their journey was coming down the Marsworth lock flight in Buckinghamshire, with the reservoirs stetching away to the left. Of course, that was before they reached the spectacular Pennine scenery of the Huddersfield Narrow!

After days of flat towpath walking, the pair planned an exhilarating finale to their walk, with a crossing of Standedge Moor, following the route taken by the boathorses, rising 600 feet above the canal summit before meeting friends and family waiting at Tunnel End, Marsden.

Those wishing to support their efforts are invited to visit the Just Giving website which can also reclaim Gift Aid on donations.

No Mooring on the Macc!

24th August 2007

Kent Green, photo: Roger Olver
New fence north of Kent Green Bridge

Kent Green
Proposed site of new moorings south of Kent Green Bridge

A popular mooring spot on the Macclesfield Canal has been closed. Fencing has been put alongside the water at Kent Green, close to Bridge 87.

A notice attached to the fencing says that the mooring is "suspended to allow for re-establishment of reed fringe" but a local boater says that the side has been dredged, with piling and mooring rings.

It is believed that the suspension follows a complaint from a new resident about boats mooring opposite their property. It would appear that the Ombudsman found in favour of the resident, as the mooring had once been a reed bed, which should be re-instated. Around 200 feet of popular mooring has been lost and it is claimed that the local pub is losing trade!

The boater was told that BW will provide new moorings to the south of Kent Green Bridge, a decision he described as "sheer lunacy" since that would involve removing a reed bed there!

A spokesperson for British Waterways told Pennine Waterways:
"The fence has been erected as preparation for works starting to reinstate the bank as it was 2 years ago. We will shortly be carrying out piling work on the south side of the bridge, which is needed because of the erosion of the bank there and we will seek to create a visitor mooring there. We are keenly aware of how popular the site is but there is a significant length of alternative bank to moor against very close by. BW is committed to follow through on decisions made by the Ombudsman which is a powerful and impartial element of our complaints procedure there for the protection of all of our customers."

Boaters or others wishing to express their views about this have been urged to contact BW's local acting general manager at Northwich,

Depth problems on Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation after floods

17th August 2007

Rotherham Lock

Boaters are now facing depth restrictions on the waterway between Sheffield and Doncaster.

Ten days after the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and the River Don around Rotherham were re-opened after heavy rain and flooding in the area, British Waterways has announced the following restrictions:

- Boats with a draft of over 2ft 6in will not be able to use the waterway between (and including) Tinsley Locks and Rotherham Lock.
- Boats with a draft of over 7ft 4in will not be able to use the waterway between (and including) Doncaster Lock and Spotborough river section. (This second restriction will mainly affect commercial traffic.)

These restrictions follow problems that have occurred due to a heavy build-up of silt during the recent flooding and high river flows.

You can phone British Waterways on 0113 281 6860 for the latest information.

Civil Engineers mark Telford's anniversary

August 10th 2007

The engineers after their trip into Standedge Tunnel

Members of the Institute of Civil Engineers marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Telford with a visit to Standedge Tunnel.

After taking a short trip inside the tunnel, the group enjoyed an illustrated talk on the Life and Times of Telford given by Alan McCartney, Chairman of the I.C.E.'s Retired Members Section, to which guests and members of the public were invited.

Thomas Telford was the first president of the Institute of Civil Engineers, whose library includes original documents relating to Telford's involvement with Standedge Tunnel. Telford is credited as putting the floundering canal project back on track and ensuring its opening.

In recognition of Telford's achievements, Marian Hogg, Yorkshire & Humber Regional Chairman, presented George Ballinger, British Waterways' Head of Engineering, with a commemorative plaque, which will now be put on public display at the Visitor Centre.

Mr Ballinger said: "We were delighted to host this visit to celebrate Telford's birthday and recognise his amazing achievement in completing Standedge Tunnel as it's such an integral part of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the heritage of our waterways."

Visitors to Standedge that day were also treated to demonstrations of boathorse harnessing and blacksmithing.

Photos -
Above right: The engineers and guests disembark after their trip into Standedge Tunnel.
Below left: Alan McCartney giving the talk on Thomas Telford.
Below right: Alan McCartney (right) cuts Telford's birthday cake while Marian Hogg presents the plaque to George Ballinger (centre). (Photo: Bob Bennett, ICE)

Alan McCartney giving the talk on Thomas Telford

Marian Hogg, George Ballinger and Alan McCartney. Photo: Bob Bennett, ICE

Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation re-opens after floods

8th August 2007

Tinsley Locks

The Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and the River Don around Rotherham are to re-open tomorrow (9th August) after a month-long closure.

Much of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation was closed following the severe flooding during July. Other sections of the waterway were re-opened in stages, but the section between Sheffield and Rotherham was badly affected and was one of the last waterways in the country to remain closed.

BW has checked that the blockages have been cleared sufficiently to allow safe passage and the first boats will be allowed to leave Victoria Quays, Sheffield, at 8.00 am. The River Don section around Rotherham will re-open at 9.00 am.

Boats will be assisted on the Tinsley lock flight as usual, but there will also be assistance on the locks through Rotherham.

You can phone British Waterways on 0113 281 6860 for the latest information.

Mooring Restrictions at Castlefield

July 25th 2007

Staffordshire Arm, Castlefield

A music event that will take place in the Events Arena at Castlefield, Manchester, means that mooring will not be allowed in the Staffordshire Arm from 1st to 6th August. Restrictions will also ben in place along the bank around the Kenworthy Arm.

There will be mooring (subject to available space) around the corner at the Coal Wharf. However, moorers are warned that the music at the event will be very loud and that crowds of up to 10,000 will be attending the ticket only event.

The Staffordshire Arm is the section leading towards the museum. The Coal Wharf is the curving section south east of the Rochdale Canal junction, passing the Middle Warehouse.

Photo: Part of the Staffordshire Arm, Castlefield.

No passengers through Standedge Tunnel

July 25th 2007

Passenger module at Standedge Tunnel, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

British Waterways has announced that passengers will be unable to be taken on the through trips in Standedge Tunnel for the next few weeks.

This is due to technical problems with the tug and passenger module. Boats will still be able to be towed through the tunnel but their crews will be transferred by taxi over the moors from one portal to the other. This is expected to continue for about four weeks.

Short passenger trips into the tunnel from Tunnel End, Marsden, will operate as normal.

You may phone British Waterways on 0113 281 6860 for the latest information.

Floods affect Yorkshire waterways

24th July 2007, updated 31st July

Several waterways un South Yorkshire are still affected by flooding following recent heavy rains.

Much of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation has been affected:
- the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal is still closed.
- Rotherham Lock is closed.
- the river section between Aldwarke and Kilnshurst has now re-opened, passable with care.
- the river section between Doncaster and Swinton has now re-opened, with floating pontoons replaced at Sprotborough.

On the Aire and Calder Navigation, Ferrybridge and Castleford flood locks are on amber alert. The gates are shut although boaters are able to operate them and pass through the locks. Update 31st July: now back to normal - amber alert lifted.

A restriction on the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Ledgard Bridge has now been lifted.

Flooding at Leeds Lock, photo: BW

The heavy rain had its worst impact on the Pennine area at the end of June, when all the rivers and canals in Yorkshire were closed to navigation (except the Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals).

A team of British Waterways ground staff worked all through the night trying to prevent flooding of an estate near Woodlesford Lock.

British Waterways' own Yorkshire office at Fearns Wharf in Leeds had to be evacuated as high water levels would have left employees stranded.

The photo shows Leeds Lock on the River Aire, close to Fearns Wharf, completely under water. (Photo: BW)

Ashton Canal shut again by further lock damage

Lock 10, Ashton Canal

24th July 2007

The Ashton Canal was closed once again following severe damage to lock gates caused by impact from a boat.

The lock flight was re-opened on the morning of Wednesday 24th July.

The incident happened on 5th July and affected the tail gates of Lock 10, on the Clayton flight. This is the deepest narrow lock in the country, with a fall of 13 feet 10 inches.

The damaged gate had to be taken to British Waterways' workshop at Stanley Ferry, Wakefield. While the lock was de-watered, remedial repairs were carried out to the lock cills and liners.

The gate was taken by water up the flight to Lock 10, which has no road access, where it was lifted into position. The paddles, paddle rods, gearing and balance beams were then fitted and saw-gating undertaken to ensure correct fit.

Whilst the lock flight was closed, British Waterways took the opportunity to undertake additional paddle repairs at locks 7, 10, 11, 12 and 14.

Photo: Lock 10 on the Ashton Canal.