Pennine Waterways News

Monday, 27 April 2020

Leeds and Liverpool Lock Flights Closure

Lock flights between Wigan and Bingley on the Leeds and Liverpool will be closed from lunchtime on Tuesday 28th April 2020 until further notice.

Essential maintenance works at Barrowford and Whitemoor reservoirs, which supply the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, means that water levels have been kept at a lower level than normal.

Along with the continued low rainfall this means there is less water available to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for unrestricted movement through the coming months. With forecasts for further dry weather and Coronavirus related restrictions to movement already in place, the Canal and River Trust has taken the decision to protect water resources further by closing the lock flights from lunchtime on Tuesday 28th April.

The following locks will be affected:
 • Wigan Flight (Locks 65 to 85)
 • Johnsons Hillocks (58 to 64)
 • Blackburn Locks (52 to 55) - please note that Locks 56 and 57 at the bottom of the flight will remain open to allow access / winding for the services.
 • Barrowford Locks (45 to 51)
 • Greenberfield Locks (42 to 44)
 • Bank Newton Locks (36 to 41)
 • Gargrave (Holme Bridge Lock 30)
 • Bingley Five Rise Locks (25 to 29)

Lock flights will be padlocked and gates ashed up to reduce leakage. To prevent unauthorised use, locks will be made temporarily inoperable. These closures mean that CRT can reduce the feed to the canals to conserve water so that navigation can remain open for as long as possible for the rest of the year, with a few restrictions.

CRT says it is not clear how long the closures will last for but it is likely to be throughout May and perhaps longer if there is no significant, sustained rainfall.

While the closure will prevent use of the lock flights, cruising between the locks for essential purposes will remain available and the towpaths will be open for the local community to use in line with Government guidance.

CRT requests people to follow all guidance relating to Coronavirus when using the canals and towpaths until further notice. More about Coronavirus restrictions on canals here.

Bingley 5-Rise Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Marple and Bosley Locks Closure

Marple lock flight on the Peak Forest Canal and Bosley lock flight on the Macclesfield Canal will be closed from lunchtime on Tuesday 28th April 2020 until further notice.

This follows the problems last year with the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir, Whaley Bridge. To allow works to Toddbrook Reservoir to take place, water levels have been kept at a significantly reduced level.

Along with the continued low rainfall this means there is less water available to the Peak Forest / Macclesfield summit level for unrestricted movement through the coming months. With forecasts for further dry weather and Coronavirus related restrictions to movement already in place, the Canal and River Trust has consulted with boating customers and taken the decision to protect water resources further by closing the lock flights from lunchtime on Tuesday 28th April.

Both flights will be padlocked and gates ashed up to reduce leakage. To prevent unauthorised use, locks will be made temporarily inoperable. These closures mean that CRT can reduce the feed to the canals to conserve water so that navigation can remain open for as long as possible for the rest of the year, with a few restrictions.

CRT says it is not clear how long the closures will last for but it is likely to be throughout May and perhaps longer if there is no significant, sustained rainfall.

While the closure will prevent use of the lock flights, cruising between the locks for essential purposes will remain available and the towpaths will be open for the local community to use in line with Government guidance.

CRT requests people to follow all guidance relating to Coronavirus when using the canals and towpaths until further notice. More about Coronavirus restrictions on canals here.

Lock 11 on the Bosley lock flight

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Calder and Hebble 'closed for 12 months' near Dewsbury

The Calder and Hebble Navigation could be closed for as much as a year at the 'Figure of Three' locks near Dewsbury.

Following Storm Ciara, the nearby River Calder overflowed, with flood water surging into the canal pound between the two 'Figure of Three' locks. Hundreds of tonnes of silt and stones were deposited in the pound and the offside bank was completely washed away alongside the lower lock, including the lock's bywash overflow channel.
The lower lock at Figure of Three, showing where the bank and bywash have been washed away.
Photo from video by David Thompson.
Facebook users can view a video by David Thompson here, which shows the extent of the damage. The two images with this report are screenshots from the video, used with David's kind permission.
Hundreds of tonnes of silt and stones deposited in the pound between the locks.
Photo from video by David Thompson.
The Canal and River Trust is still assessing the damage so that a programme of works can be planned to bring the locks back into operation. The initial estimate is that it may take up to a period of 12 months before the canal can be re-opened. CRT will provide further updates as the extent of work needed becomes clearer.

Access to the site could be difficult for heavy vehicles and it may be necessary to construct a temporary roadway.
Aerial view of the locks, showing the path of the flood water.
Image: Google Maps. See https://goo.gl/maps/1HhaQra1aRufzHrB7
Figure of Three locks are on the long canal section between Thornhill Flood Lock and Broad Cut.

The locks were opened in 1838. Before that time the navigation had locked back down into the river just above Figure of Three locks.

Two miles downstream, the flood waters of Storm Ciara lifted a narrowboat onto the towpath near the Navigation Inn at Broad Cut.

The Calder and Hebble Navigation is vulnerable to flood problems, with the River Calder rising quickly when heavy rainfall runs off the moors. Normally the navigation's flood gates are closed and there are few problems other than the restriction to navigation. However, there have been a number of serious incidents in recent years, such as the Boxing Day flood in 2015, which left a number of boats stranded on the banks and Elland Bridge so badly damaged that it needed to be re-built.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Unplanned stoppage at Marple Locks

CRT has announced an additional stoppage on the Peak Forest Canal that is not part of their planned winter work programme.

The stoppage will mean that Marple Locks will be closed from 10th to 28th February 2020.

The stoppage is to enable repairs to be carried out to Locks 12 and 16 to reduce leakage, which is necessary important in helping to maintain water levels whilst Toddbrook Reservoir is out of use.

Lock 12 will have repairs to its headgate to help prevent loss of water. Lock 16 will have repairs to the tailgate cills to reduce leakage and make operation of the lock easier.

The head gate of Lock 12 at Marple.