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Canal & River Trust Begins Work

3rd January 2023 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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Canal & River Trust Begins Work to protect the North West's HistoricWaterways

The Canal & River Trust, the national waterways and wellbeing charity, is starting a four-month programme of repairs as part of its ongoing work to protect and preserve the North West's historic and wildlife-rich waterways.

This winter's schedule of works, which will continue until March, will see the Trust's expert teams replace worn-out lock gates, repair historic bridges, and carry out a host of tasks to keep the region's 250-year-old network in working order.

The ongoing work will help ensure that the Trust's waterways can continue to be navigated by boats and remain vital green spaces that are free to visit and benefit the millions of people who have a canal on their doorstep.

The programme includes:

  • Worn-out lock gates being replaced at several locks across the region including on the Ashton and Rochdale canals in central Manchester, along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Stalybridge and Mossley, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Barrowford and Wigan Lock Flight, along the Llangollen Canal at Nantwich and on the Shropshire Union Canal at Audlem in Cheshire.
  • Relining of lock gates and repairs to lock chambers along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Saddleworth, on the Rufford Branch at Burscough and on the Rochdale Canal at Newton Heath to help save water.
  • Canal wall repairs on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Stalybridge and Portland Basin, Ashton-under-Lyne and on the Diggle Lock Flight on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Saddleworth.
  • Culvert repairs along the Shropshire Union Canal and on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Stephen Ballard, regional operations manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: "Our skilled teams will be braving the elements this winter carrying out the important ongoing repair and conservation work that is vital to keep the canals across the North West open, safe, and accessible for boaters and local communities.

"With research telling us that time spent by the water can help us all to feel happier and more relaxed, it's vital that we keep these special places open and safe for us all to enjoy both now and for future generations. The work our charity is doing this winter will help ensure that the region's waterways continue to bring real benefits to people's lives.

"With the support of volunteers and the financial assistance from partners and donors, we'll be replacing lock gates and painstakingly repairing historic brickwork; continuing our work to ensure that our wonderful waterways are protected and never again fall back into the dark days of canal dereliction and decline that was the story of the early and mid-20th century."

The lock gates on the North West waterways weigh several tonnes and typically last around 25 years. Each new gate is hand-crafted in the Trust's specialist workshops at Bradley in the West Midlands, or Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire, and is made to measure from seasoned oak so that it fits perfectly in each historic lock chamber.

This winter the Trust is investing more than £50 million on waterways across England and Wales with nearly £13 million being invested across the North West. For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust, including how to support through volunteering or making a donation, go to

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