Pennine Waterways News

Monday 4 December 2017

Santa Splash on L&L in Liverpool

On Saturday 2nd December, the Canal and River Trust helped local communities get into the festive spirit and discover England’s first coast-to-coast canoe trail with their biggest 'Santa Splash'.

50 Santas, elves and helpers participated in the 'Santa Splash' on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, which forms part of the Desmond Family Canoe Trail.

The festive two-mile paddle set off from Liverpool's Eldonian Village and finished at Bootle.

Funded by a £1.3 million grant from the Desmond Foundation, the 162-mile Desmond Family Canoe Trail starts in Liverpool, follows the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation to Goole.

Danny Matley from the Canal and River Trust said: "We had a brilliant day. It was great to see so many people turn out and help us create our biggest ever Santa Splash. It's a unique way to experience the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and have fun getting into the festive spirit."

Information about the Desmond Family Canoe Trail at:

Saturday 4 November 2017

Long term closure of Marple Locks

As was reported in September, a problem involving subsidence at Lock 15 at Marple is going to result in the whole of the Marple lock flight being shut for an extended period.

Towards the end of September the Canal and River Trust said that following a detailed survey it was clear that the lock had become too narrow to be operated safely. Dealing with the subsidence at the lock was going to be "a significant and complex project". CRT needs to work with their contracting partners to make sure that they can get the repair done quickly but at a reasonable cost too.

They were unable to give a timescale for the completion of the work other than to say that the lock will be closed here for some time.

At the end of October, CRT issued an update to say that there has been lots of work going on behind the scenes looking for the best way to repair the lock chamber wall. Further monitoring of the wall has shown that it has continued to move.

In early November CRT will be carrying out further ground investigations, digging large boreholes around the lock to give detailed information about the ground around the lock so that the extent of the works needed can be established. The lock is Grade II listed, in a conservation area and in a confined location making access difficult. CRT needs to make sure that the designs to repair the wall can work in the limited space, are sympathetic to the area and meet the heritage criteria dictated by the lock's Listed status.

CRT are hoping that work will be able to start before Christmas and will be aiming for the repairs to be completed by mid March.

CRT are reviewing what other works that they can do in the flight over the winter to make the most of the extended closure.

It would therefore appear that the 'window' when the locks were due to be open for navigation on 27th and 28th Jan 2018 will not now be possible.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Ashton Canal Stoppage

An emergency stoppage is in place on the Ashton Canal after both paddles failed at Lock 16.

The Canal and River Trust are taking every step to fix the problem as soon as possible and will issue an update tomorrow morning.

The canal will be closed between Lock 1 and Lock 18.

This stoppage comes less than 2 weeks after a 4-day stoppage on the Ashton Canal after the cill at Lock 9 failed.

The Ashton Canal is part of the Cheshire Ring route, which is currently also closed at Marple Locks after the discovery of subsidence at Lock 15.

Update 10 am 21st September:
CRT have completed the repairs at Lock 16. The pounds have re-filled overnight and the canal has re-opened to through navigation.

Lock 16 of the Ashton Canal at Edge Lane

Monday 11 September 2017

Emergency Stoppage at Marple Locks

The Canal and River Trust has issued a stoppage notice affecting Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal.

The whole lock flight from 1 to 16 is currently closed until further notice due to subsidence at lock 15.

Canal and River Trust engineers will be carrying out inspections later today. A decision whether the locks can be re-opened will be taken after the inspection.

This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

Update 5 pm 11th September:
CRT has issued the following statement -
"Over the weekend subsidence has become evident at Lock 15, Marple and we have had to close the canal here while this is investigated. Following inspections on site today we are now concerned that there has been some movement to the towpath side lock wall as well.

"Our engineering team will be undertaking a thorough examination of the lock over the next few days so that we can be clear about the true extent of the problem and what repairs are now needed.

"Given the uncertainty about the full extent of the problem we cannot estimate a reopening date for the lock at the moment, when we know more we will be able to issue a further update. We’re sorry if this problem has caused you delays but want to assure you that we are giving this highest priority."

Update 14th September:
The locks are expected to re-open on September 22nd after full investigations have been completed.
There has been some subsidence at Lock 15 and the lock chamber has narrowed. When it re-opens, there will be a width restriction of a maximum of 6ft 10 in until permanent repairs can be carried out.

Update 22nd September:
CRT have said that they were unable to re-open the lock today as hoped. Further works are continuing. Another update will be issued early next week.

Update 26th September:
Last week's detailed survey shows that the lock has become too narrow to be operated safely. The repair will be a significant and complex project. CRT say it is unlikely that they will be able to suggest a date for reopening for a couple of weeks and that it looks as if the lock will be closed for some time.

Lock 15 at Marple

Wednesday 28 June 2017

'Boat Jam' at Tunnel End

There was a 'boat jam' at Tunnel End yesterday after a record 12 boats made the passage through Standedge Tunnel from Diggle.

The boats were taking part in the 'Pennine Explorer Cruise' organised by the Huddersfield Canal Society.

The fleet will be stopping at Slaithwaite tonight and Milnsbridge the following night.
Read more on the Huddersfield Canal Society website.

Monday 5 June 2017

Restricted times at Wigan

Boaters passing through Wigan on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will be affected by new restrictions on lock opening times.

From Wednesday 7th June, in order to conserve water, the following locks will be restricted:
- Lock 65 (top of Wigan fligh)
- Lock 85 (bottom of Wigan flight)
- Lock 1 (Poolstock, Leigh Branch)

These locks will be padlocked and only open at these times:
- 8.00 - 9.00 am daily
- 2.00 - 3.00 pm daily

Boaters travelling down the Wigan flight should enter Lock 65 between 8.00 - 9.00 am and pass through Lock 85 (and Poolstock, if continuing towards Leigh) between 2.00 - 3.00 pm.

Boaters travelling up the Wigan flight should enter Poolstock locks (if coming from Leigh) and Lock 85 between 8.00 - 9.00 am and pass through Lock 65 between 2.00 - 3.00 pm.

Boaters travelling from the Leigh Branch towards Liverpool (or vice versa) should pass through Poolstock locks  between 8.00 - 9.00 am or 2.00 - 3.00 pm. Note that Lock 88 (Pagefield Lock) to Lock 89 (Ell Meadow Lock) are closed overnight from 8.00 pm to 8.00 am.

The Canal and River Trust says that these restrictions will be in place until further notice and will be lifted as soon as water levels have stabilised. 

Update Tuesday 13th June:Poolstock Lock has reverted to night-time closure only, being padlocked between 8.00 pm and 8.00 am (the same as Pagefield Lock and Ell Meadow Lock).
Locks 65 and 85 will continue to open only between 8.00 - 9.00 am and between 2.00 - 3.00 pm. Overnight mooring is permitted at Rose Bridge between Locks 77 & 78. 

Lock 85 at Wigan

Thursday 25 May 2017

Leigh Branch Re-opened

The Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal has re-opened to navigation after being closed near Boothstown since mid-February.

The stoppage has been due to reconstruction work on Vicar's Hall Bridge, roughly half way between Astley Green and Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown. The concrete bridge abutments are now in place. A brief stoppage to crane the bridge deck in place is expected to take place around the end of June.

It is unusual for a stoppage of this kind to have taken place during the main boating 'season' and this has caused frustration for many boaters heading to or from Liverpool or the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
Vicar's Hall Bridge. Photo: Colin and Carole's Creations

Thursday 20 April 2017

Piccadilly Drained

The Ashton and Rochdale Canals have been drained in the Piccadilly area of Manchester as part of a police investigation. The water was drained from the Ashton Canal below Lock 1 and the adjoining Rochdale Canal between Locks 83 and 84.

The police are investigating the disappearance of a young man nine years ago and a search of this area of canal is part of the investigation. There was no sign of any police activity today so it may be presumed that they have concluded their search.

The canal is due to be re-opened tomorrow evening (21st April).

More photos on our Facebook page (no need to be a member of Facebook to view them).

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Manchester Stoppage will affect Ashton and Rochdale Canals

A planned stoppage in Manchester will close part of the Ashton and Rochdale Canals for four days.

The Rochdale Canal between Locks 83 and 84 together with the Ashton Canal between Piccadilly Basin and Lock 1 will be closed to navigation and for towpath use to assist a Police Investigation.

The closure will begin at 6.00 am on Tuesday 18th April and will end at 8.00 pm on Friday 21st April.

This will affect boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Changes to Leeds flood scheme

The Canal and River Trust has announced that changes to the flood alleviation work in Leeds means changes to the planned stoppages affecting the Aire and Calder Navigation.

The navigation was due to be closed at Crown Point Bridge in central Leeds and at Knostrop Fall Lock, a mile downstream. These stoppages were planned to run from 15th February until 13th April.

These stoppages are no longer needed and are cancelled.

This is as a result of close working between the Canal and River Trust and Leeds City Transport to minimise disruption.

However, a two week closure will be needed from 17th to 30th July for the removal of the crane from Fearns Island at Crown Point and for testing of the weirs at Leeds and Knostrop.

This will have an impact on boaters travelling in the peak period leading up to the school holidays. Keep an eye out for further notifications nearer the time and to find out whether there will be access to Leeds (Clarence) Dock.

Knostrop FallLock, Aire and Calder

Thursday 5 January 2017

Serious new delay to Bridgewater work

The planned stoppage on the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal has been delayed yet again and will now seriously encroach upon the boating 'season'.

Vicars Hall Bridge, roughly half way between Astley Green and Bridgewater Marina at Boothstown, is to be replaced and this will involve closing the canal to navigation.

It has just been announced that the stoppage will now run from 8.00 am on Monday 13th February 2017 until Friday 16th June.

This work, originally intended to be between October and February, has already been delayed twice (see details). This further delay looks set to be a major inconvenience to boaters heading to Liverpool or to the Ribble Link. It will also affect boaters from the Leeds and Liverpool hoping to travel south.

The towpath will be open but with a short diversion.

Update Wednesday 18th January:
Following representations from boating organisations, the dates have been modified and the stoppage should now run until Wednesday 24th May, although that cannot be guaranteed..

Note: Barton Swing Aqueduct will be closed between 13th and 27th March for its annual maintenance.

Vicars Hall Bridge, Bridgewater Canal