Pennine Waterways News

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 pam 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

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

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