Pennine Waterways News

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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bridgewater Stoppage Delayed

A stoppage on the Leigh Branch of the Bridgewater Canal has been delayed and will now take place later than planned.

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.

This was originally planned to take place between 31st October and 24th February but this was put back to 5th December to 27th March.

It has now been announced that the stoppage will run from 8.00 am on Monday 9th January 2017 until Friday 30th April.

This is later than the normal stoppage "season" and the delay may affect some people's plans to travel through to Liverpool.

The towpath will be open but with a short diversion.

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

Vicars Hall Bridge, Bridgewater Canal

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Rochdale Re-opens

The re-opened channel near Todmorden. Photo: Canal & River Trust

The Rochdale Canal has re-opened to through navigation this week after being closed by a landslip near Todmorden since the end of last year.

The flooding on Boxing Day 2015, caused when a massive amount of water from the River Calder overtopped into the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation, left behind major clean-up operations and a number of complex engineering projects, including the re-building of Elland Bridge.

The Trust, helped by hundreds of volunteers, has been working hard ever since to clear thick layers of mud and silt from popular walking routes, rebuild damaged canal walls, repair scoured towpaths and remove litter and other debris dumped on paths, lock sides and even in trees.

Some of the most severe damage was around Todmorden where the powerful floodwaters washed away a 15m section of canal bank allowing water to drain out of the canal onto nearby allotments.

Since then contractors have been hard at work filling the void in the bank, repairing the canal walls, relining the bed of the canal and reinstating the towpath. The Trust has also restored the allotments so that they can be enjoyed once more.

The local community played an important role in the repairs with the local allotment group giving up their time over Christmas to put sandbags in place to create a temporary canal bank and reduce water loss.

Also near Todmorden a landslip blocked the canal with earth, trees and debris from adjoining land. With the help of local residents who gave permission for access onto their land, the Trust has been able to clear the canal. Specialist contractors installed steel piling along the edge of the canal to protect the slope whilst the earth and debris was removed.

David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; "We’re delighted that the canal can be reopened. It’s a really significant moment for boaters and the local community.

"It’s been a long, hard year and the repairs we were left with to get this 200 year old canal back up and running were far from straightforward. Almost overnight we were faced with a number of really challenging and complex engineering projects.

"In so many cases local people have been really helpful - whether by allowing access onto their land or, as in the case of the allotment group at the breach site, rolling their sleeves up and helping us out – and I’m just so pleased that they now have their canal back."
The landslip near Todmorden at the end of 2015. Photo: Canal & River Trust

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bank Newton Locks closed for 2 days

Bank Newton Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will be closed on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th August to enable emergency repairs to be carried out to both head ground paddles at Lock 41 (Top Lock).

The lock flight be re-open in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Lock 21 (Dowley Gap Top Lock) had been closed to navigation today (Monday 22nd Aug) due to a damaged ground paddle but was re-opened to navigation at 3.00 pm.

Lock 41, Bank Newton

Friday, 1 July 2016

Elland Bridge to re-open shortly

Elland Bridge, across the Calder and Hebble Navigation, is set to re-open early in July.

The bridge was badly damaged in the floods earlier in the year and has had to be re-built.

The Canal and River Trust hope that the works will be ready for the navigation to re-open on 4th July.

Re-building of Elland Bridge. Photo: Canal & River Trust

Monday, 20 June 2016

Doncaster Lock closed

A gate has failed at Doncaster Lock, on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, making the lock inoperable.

The Canal and River Trust will issue an update when more information is available.

Update Monday 27th June:
The lock has been repaired and the canal is now open.

Doncaster Lock

Friday, 17 June 2016

Stoppage at Barrowford Locks, L & L

Barrowford Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal have been closed because of a problem at Lock 46.

A void has formed under the floor of the lock chamber, which has affected the concrete supporting the bottom of the gates. This makes the lock unsafe as the gates could suddenly fail.

Lock 46 at Barrowford

The Canal and River Trust have started repairs. The damaged concrete has been removed. Steel reinforcements have been put in place in readiness for the new concrete.

The concrete will need several days to harden before the lock can be filled with water.

It is expected that the lock will be re-opened on Wednesday 22nd June.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Stoppages on Macclesfield and Peak Forest

The Upper Peak Forest Canal has been isolated by two unrelated stoppages at Bollington and Marople.

The Macclesfield Canal is shut at Bollington Aqueduct, where a section has been drained to investigate a serious leak. Water has been escaping through holes on the canal bed outside Clarence Mill, under the embankment and flooding the nearby recreation ground.

The Canal and River Trust intend the fill the holes with hardcore and a layer of puddle clay as a temporary repair which they hope will enable the canal to reopen in a week.

The stoppage and emergency repair are needed to prevent the leak developing into a major breach.

The leaks have been repaired and the canal is now open.

The holes outside Clarence Mill, Bollington. Photo: Coalboat Alton

In a separate stoppage, Marple Locks have been closed because of a gate failure at Lock 12.

These stoppages will affect boaters intending to navigate the Cheshire Ring.

Update Monday 23rd May:
The repairs to Lock12 have been completed and Marple Locks have re-opened to navigation.

Update Tuesday 24th May:
Inspection of the site at Bollington showed that the problems are worse than expected with more extensive repairs being needed. The canal is expected to remain closed at Bollington for a couple of weeks. The towpath will also be closed.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Calder and Hebble flood havoc

Stranded boat between Elland and Brighouse

Flooding in the Calder Valley has once again caused havoc and disruption. Heavy rain over the Christmas weekend, falling onto the already saturated hills and moors, quickly ran down into the river valley, overflowing into the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation.

On Boxing Day the streets in the middle of Hebden Bridge were waist-deep in water. Several boats on the Rochdale Canal were swept from their moorings, with one left high and dry across the canal.

As the water surged downstream it brought havoc to the Calder & Hebble Navigation between Elland and Brighouse. A number of boats were swept up onto the bank while four others were totally submerged. The towpath and part of the arch of Crowther Bridge, near Cromwell Lock, were washed away.

Crowther Bridge

Two teams from River Canal Rescue have been in the area and have re-floated two of the sunken boats. They were hoping to refloat the other two today before looking at how the stranded boats might be retrieved. They urge boaters affected to raise an insurance claim and to act quickly to mitigate the cost of the claim.

Sunken boat between Elland and Brighouse

One of the stranded boats at Elland

These photographs are from River Canal Rescue. More photographs of the problems between Elland and Brighouse can be seen on River Canal Rescue's Facebook page.
Contact information for River Canal Rescue can be found on their website.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Restricted passage at Lock 19w, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Boaters intending to use the Huddersfield Narrow Canal face yet another problem, this time with restricted passage times at Lock 19w.

A cavity described as a 'sinkhole' has appeared on the lockside of Lock 19w at Friezland in Saddleworth. Presumably this has been caused by water leaking out of the lock chamber eroding the ground at the side of the lock.

The Canal and River Trust's contractors will start work on grouting the cavity next week. The work is expected to take three weeks.

Between Monday 7th September and Friday 26th September boat passage through Lock 19w will be restricted to:
* Before 8.00 am
* Between 1.00 and 2.00 pm
* After 4.30 pm

Boaters would be advised to moor above Lock 21w or below Lock 15w if arriving early and should not attempt to moor in the short, shallow pound below Lock 19w. About 25 minutes should be allowed from above Lock 21w or about 45 minutes from below Lock 15w, depending on crew.

Lock 19w, Royal George Highest Lock at Friezland, Saddleworth.