Pennine Waterways News

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Standedge Tunnel Spectacle to mark 200th Anniversary!

2011 promises to be an eventful year on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal as a number of celebrations are planned to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of Standedge Tunnel.

While parts of the canal were open to navigation from 1796, Standedge Tunnel and the Diggle lock flight did not open until 4th April 2011. To mark this bi-centenary, a long weekend of events is planned at Standedge for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th April 2011.

On Saturday 2nd April, the historic narrowboat Maria will be horsedrawn up the Diggle locks from Wool Road, starting at 10.30 am. At around 1.00 pm the boat will be legged through the 3.24 mile long tunnel.

When the boat disappears into the tunnel, energetic members of the public will be invited to accompany the boat horse as it walks up over the moors on a route of around 4 miles to meet the boat at Tunnel End, Marsden.

On Sunday 3rd April it is hoped that three horsedrawn boats will be legged through Standedge Tunnel starting at Tunnel End, Marsden at 1.00 pm with members of the public invited to walk over the moors with the boat horse.

On Monday 4th April it is hoped that three horsedrawn boats will be legged through Standedge Tunnel starting at the Diggle portal 10.00 am with members of the public invited to walk over the moors with the boat horse.

There will be a range of other activities at Tunnel End on all three days and, on Monday 4th April, there will be a re-creation of the 1811 opening day featuring "Thomas Telford" and a brass band.

Further information about this weekend can be found at and

Legging in Standedge Tunnel in 2009. Photo: Paul Atterbury

If you have always wanted to help leg a boat through Standedge Tunnel, this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for! The Horseboating Society still need more volunteers to help leg the boats on 3rd or 4th April. It is an unforgettable experience and quite unlike traversing the tunnel on an engined boat or travelling on the electric passenger boat. You would need to become a member of the society but that is a small price to pay for such an opportunity! You will need to contact the Horseboating Society as soon as possible if you wish to take part - you cannot turn up and offer on the day!

Later in the year, on Sunday September 18th, there will be a Festival and Boat Gathering at Diggle, which will include short public trips into the tunnel from the Diggle end - the first time that BW has offered this! The festival will be held adjacent to Diggle top lock. Anyone wishing to take their boat to the gathering must contact Huddersfield Canal Society.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Late start to season on Huddersfield Narrow

Delays in the completion of planned work on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal have meant a late start to navigation of the canal this year and for visitors to Standedge Tunnel.

This Winter, British Waterways has been making "a significant investment" in the improvement of the trip boats at Standedge Tunnel in order to improve reliability. It turns out that the work involves is far more extensive than originally thought, and it has not been possible to make up for time lost through bad weather at the start of the year.

This means that the trip boats will not be able to start operating this weekend as originally intended. However, BW is confident that the boats will be able to commence operation on Saturday 26th March.

Protective scaffolding will need to remain in place until work on the boats is complete, which means that navigation past the site is not possible. This means that Standedge Tunnel will not re-open for boat passage until the scaffolding has been dismantled. It looks as if tunnel passage for 2011 will now begin on Monday 28th March.

Work on Lock 8E, Spring Mill Lock at Factory Lane, Milnsbridge will not be completed until Friday 25th March. BW has said that due to circumstances beyond their control, the lock gate replacement works at Lock 8E "have been delayed and will over run their original planned completion date by one week".

For any enquiries about these stoppages contact British Waterways on 01782 785703.

Standedge Tunnel

Monday, 14 March 2011

Ashton Canal Closure for new connection

The Ashton Canal will be closed for navigation between Locks 2 and 3 in Ancoats on Wednesday 16th March.

The pound will be de-watered to allow the connection to the new arm that forms part of the New Islington development. The stoppage will be between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm.

For any enquiries about this stoppage contact British Waterways on 01782 785703.