Pennine Waterways News

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
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.