Pennine Waterways News

Monday, 23 July 2018

Water shortage to shut Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals

The continuing dry and warm weather will result in the closure of large parts of the Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow Canals from Monday 6th August.

The sections of canal to be closed with locks padlocked are -

Huddersfield Narrow Canal:
Lock 1e (Huddersfield) to Lock 24w (Wool Road).

Rochdale Canal:
Lock 1 (Sowerby Bridge) to Lock 48 (Littleborough).

The section of the Rochdale Canal from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden (between Locks 6 and 19) will remain open but with navigation restricted to between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm under a local booking system.

Although the canal will remain open between Manchester and Littleborough it is unlikely that many boaters would decide to travel beyond New Islington Marina.

The Rochdale Nine lock flight in Manchester will remain open, linking the Ashton and Bridgewater Canals.

On the closed sections, the canal and River Trust says that "measures will be taken to make the locks inoperable" to prevent unauthorised use (e.g. by someone breaking the padlocks).

These closures will come into effect a week after the closure of the central section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from 30th July, meaning that all three trans-Pennine routes will be closed.

The Canal and River Trust says that it has reluctantly taken this decision due to the low levels of the reservoirs because of prolonged low rainfall and with the forecast for further dry weather.

The Canal and River Trust says that it is not known how long these closures will last for but that it's likely to be throughout August and potentially beyond if there is no significant, sustained rainfall. The towpath will remain open.

Update 27th July:
Because of the serious shortfall in water supply, the closures on the Rochdale Canal are brought forward and go into immediate effect.

This involves the closure of all locks between Sowerby Bridge (Lock 1) and Littleborough (Lock 48). This includes the section between Locks 7 and 19, which it had been hoped to keep open on restricted opening times. The Canal and River Trust will liaise with boaters on this section so that  they can access vital services when possible, offering restricted, controlled passage.  Other than this all locks will be secured and out of use.

Looking towards the summit of the Rochdale Canal from Lock 38.

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