Canal & River Trust, the national waterways and wellbeing charity, has re-opened the Caldon Canal to boats. At the same time, the £2 million project to rebuild the Grade II Listed Hazelhurst Bridge on the Caldon Canal near Endon in Staffordshire continues. The 12-month project, enabled by an award from the Postcode Earth Trust, thanks to funds raised by People’s Postcode Lottery players, is expected to be completed in August 2023.
To facilitate the works, the canal had been closed to through-navigation over the winter from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazelhurst Junction), running southeast to Cheddleton Lock, but was re-opened on 6 April 2023.
Ian Bogges, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, explains: “We were able to re-open the Caldon Canal to through navigation ahead of Easter and the May bank holiday, but until 19 May, some navigation restrictions are in place. On weekdays, passage beneath Hazelhurst Bridge is available twice daily from 9 am to 10 am and from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm.
“As the towpath remains closed from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazelhurst Junction), running southeast to Hazlehurst Aqueduct until mid-July, for boats travelling west, our contractors will facilitate the operations of the adjacent lock so that boaters don’t have to get off their boats. Boaters travelling east will be able to operate the lock themselves.
“On weekends and bank holidays, the unrestricted passage is available evenings from 5 pm and mornings until 7.30 am, and boaters can operate the locks from both directions without assistance. The towpath on the main line (through the locks) remains closed from Hazelhurst Junction to Hazelhurst Aqueduct. However, boaters can get on and off to operate all locks within this fenced section.”
“There is a slight restriction in height for boats travelling under Hazelhurst Bridge. A 2.1-metre minimum size is still available, equating to a reduction of around 30cm.
“The Public Right of Way on the access pathway towards the bridge from Leek Old Road will also be closed for the duration of the works. Footpath and towpath diversion signs are in place.”
Hazelhurst Bridge is an accommodation bridge that provides access across the Caldon Canal for farmers, residents and liveaboard boaters. It also provides access for the Trust for maintenance work.
The bridge was irreparably damaged in March 2020 following the draining of the canal upstream for repairs to Hazelhurst Bottom Lock. The Canal & River Trust is rebuilding the structure, matching its former location, form, scale, and character, using many original stone copings.
For more information on Canal & River Trust, including how you can donate money or volunteer to support our work, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk