Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Start date: October 11, 2021
End date: May 26, 2022
Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Stoppages & Restrictions

Blackburn Lock Flight to Bridge 111D, Simpson’s Bridge, Rishton, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Starts At: Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge
Ends At: Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge

Update on 06/05/2022:

Unfortunately, we have experienced some delays to the towpath repair works between Bridge 109 and Bridge 110 on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and towpath access remains closed. The repair works are almost complete, with our contractors now completing further works to reinstate fencing along the length.

Once all construction traffic has stopped onsite, we can then safely resume towpath access and are hopeful this will be by Friday 20 May.  We will then return to carry out repairs to the access track crossing the fields between Bridge 109 and Bridge 112.

We politely request all boating customers to navigate through the area with care and to listen to any advice that may be given by the team onsite. To maintain a safe working environment, mooring between Bridge 109 and Bridge 110 remains suspended.

A further update will be provided Friday 20 May.

NAVIGATION CLOSURE (until 3pm Wednesday 25 May 2022)

Update on 27/04/2022:

We are sorry to advise that there will be a further delay to the re-opening of Eshton Lock. Whilst our contractor has worked every weekend where it has been practical to do so, to try to hit the published opening date of 9 May, this has not always been possible due to supply chain limitations and other factors. The wall dismantling itself has also taken longer than expected as we have found additional voids behind it which has required further areas of the wall to be taken down.

Our contractor is committed to working as intensively as possible to achieve a revised target opening date of 17 May – given there still remains some risk to this programme we will commit to open no later than 25th May and will review and update our notices every few days so that we can keep everyone concerned informed. Please check for further updates.

Update on 22/04/2022:

The towpath from Bridge 109 to Bridge 110 on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal remains closed whilst our contractors continue works to repair the towpath and further damage which occurred during the breach in Rishton. We are hopeful to resume towpath access in 2 weeks’ time, with further works in the area continuing till the end of May.

We politely request all boating customers to navigate through the area with care and to listen to any advice that may be given by the team onsite. To maintain a safe working environment, mooring between Bridge 109 and Bridge 110 remains suspended.

A further update will be provided Friday 6 May.

Update on 08/04/2022:

We are pleased to advise, following a successful repair and observation period, navigation has resumed between the Blackburn Lock Flight and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

The towpath from Bridge 109 to Bridge 110 remains closed whilst our contractors continue works to repair the towpath and further damage which occurred during the breach. We anticipate these works will continue until the end of May, with hope we can resume towpath access late April.  

We politely request all customers to navigate through the area with care and to listen to any advice that may be given by the team onsite. To maintain a safe working environment, mooring between Bridge 109 and Bridge 110 is suspended.

The track from Bridge 109 to Bridge 112 remains open, though care should be taken as access is shared with our contractors.

Please note, the Blackburn Lock Flight is open from 10am until 5pm, with last passage at 4pm, daily. You can see more about this, and the other Leeds & Liverpool lock flight opening times, here.


Update on 01/04/2022:

We are pleased to advise the wash wall repairs and embankment reconstruction works to repair the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are now complete, and we have started to refill the drained section of the canal.

Next week, following a successful observation period, we are hopeful to remove the remaining obstructions from the canal, with the aim to resume navigation on Friday 8 April.

Once navigation has resumed, the towpath from Bridge 109 to Bridge 110 will remain closed whilst our contractors remain onsite to complete further works. We politely request all customers to navigate through the area with care and to listen to any advice that may be given by the team onsite. To maintain a safe working environment, mooring between these bridges will be suspended.

The towpath remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110, with access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge only. The track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open, though care should be taken as this is shared with contractor access.

A further update will be provided Friday 8 April.

Update on 25/03/2022:

Please be advised, a further towpath closure is needed between Bridge 110 and Bridge 111 on Thursday 31 March and Friday 1 April to be able to safely remove the pumps and pipework from site.

This is in addition to the towpath closure already in place between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110. The track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open though care should be taken as shared with the contractor access.

Update on 04/03/2022:

An outbreak of Covid-19 amongst the site team, in addition to a succession of storms throughout the last 4-week period has had a detrimental effect on the planned programme to repair the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. 

However, through risk reduction meetings and re-programming activities to outside of the critical programme path, we still hope to have the canal open to navigation for Friday 8 April.

The damaged culvert has been replaced, new access chambers constructed, and areas of the canal bed have been repaired up to new clay liner level.  New clay is already stockpiled on site, ready to be placed in the coming week.

The new outlet structure is almost complete, and we will be reconstructing the embankment around this to lift levels at the same time as placing the new canal bed material.

An extension to the weir at this location has also been built to improve capacity and to able to deal with any future flooding.

An access track to the damaged towpath close to Bridge 110 is in place, and an access across the canal constructed.  Removal of the collapsed section is due to start next week, followed by replacement in the next two weeks following this.

The towpath access remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110, access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge and the track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open though care should be taken as shared with the contractor access.

Update on 04/02/2022:

Works to repair the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are progressing well on site. Despite the recent storms, the weather has been kind, with the extremes limited to short durations.

The damaged areas of the canal have all been removed and cleared to the starting level of reconstruction works at the main site.  Access to a further repair found to be required closer to Bridge 110 has also been agreed and started.

The first concrete of the new outfall structure has been placed and the pipework for the new culvert should be in place by the end of this week.  Works on the weir to improve the capacity of this length of canal, to be able to deal with any future flooding, will also have been started.

Materials to re-build the canal embankment and relining clay are starting to be imported to site to stockpile ready for use in March. We currently anticipate that navigation will resume by Friday 8 April, with the towpath re-opening later in May.

The towpath access remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110, access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge and the track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open, though care should be taken as shared with the contractor access.

Update on 07/01/2022:

Contractors working on behalf of the Canal & River Trust initially installed emergency dams on either side of the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to secure the canal.

Now a temporary road and construction site compound have been established next to the breach, an access to the canal bed has been constructed through the damaged section and the repair work has begun.

A working surface has been placed in the bed and two more substantial clay bunds placed across the canal as we work towards reducing the length of canal left empty and reducing the over pumping requirements.

Detailed designs for the embankment repair are well developed, as are most structural design works that are required to order materials.

The towpath access remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110, access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge and the track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open though care should be taken as shared with the contractor access.

Update on 03/12/2021:

Our teams have now established a working site compound adjacent to the site of breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, together with access across the fields to the works area.

Works have commenced to break through the damaged embankment and to create access tracks for our contractors to construct more secure dams each side of the breach. This will allow our contractors to excavate the remainder of the damaged area in a safer and more secure environment. These should be in place by the end of this month.

Outline designs for the repair are well developed and most structural works are currently in the detailed design stage in preparation to order materials ready for the new year.

Towpath access remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110. Access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge, and the track from Bridge 112 to Bridge 109 remains open, though care should be taken as shared with the contractor access.

Update on 05/11/2021:

Our teams have secured access to the site of the breach via our neighbouring landowners between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and have now started site compound preparation works, together with access to the works area.

We aim to have access established over the next coming weeks with a trackway constructed over the neighbouring fields to the damaged section of the embankment.

Whilst towpath access remains closed between Bridge 109 to Bridge 110, we have re-opened towpath access at Bridge 110 towards Bridge 111, Foxhill Bank Bridge.

Update on 22/10/2021:

Our teams have been working hard over the last few days to stabilise the water levels in the immediate area on both sides of the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

In addition to Barrowford Locks re-opening earlier this week, using our emergency abstraction powers to pump water from Knuzden Brook, limited resources from Rishton Reservoir, and with a little help from the rain, we were able to raise the levels on the 6 mile stretch from Rishton to Blackburn to allow assisted passage through Blackburn Locks to all boats that wished to leave the affected section of the canal.

All 1,200 metres of pipes have been laid out and are supported in place to enable us to pump water over the breach. A crane has been onsite today to lift the pumps into the canal at Bridge 110 and are now successfully providing a sustained and sufficient feed to the Blackburn section of the canal and beyond.  

Whilst Blackburn Locks will remain closed to navigation, we are pleased to advise that Johnson’s Hillocks and the Wigan Flight will be open daily from 8am tomorrow, Saturday 23 October. The Wigan Flight will open as per its usual operating times, 8am until 4pm, with last entry at 12pm. Johnson’s Hillocks will re-open without operating times, however this will remain under review subject to water resources.

Our Design Engineers have been onsite undertaking investigations of the work required and planning the early stages of clearing up to see the full extent of the damage. Site surveys and ground investigations have been arranged and once we have a full understanding of the work required, we will be able to plan and programme the required works.

In the meantime, we are working with our neighbouring landowners to allow us to construct access to the site of the breach, whilst our contractors are organising the installation of the clay and stone dams and will start works to create access on the bed of the canal. Based on the previous timescales of similar projects, we estimate the repairs will take in the region of 6 months.

Our teams will continue to assist and work with all those customers affected by this closure, and we continue to urge anyone further to contact our North West Customer Support Team on 03030 404040 if you, or someone you know, is seeking help in the affected area. 

A further update will be provided Friday 5 November.


Starts At: Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge
Ends At: Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton

Update on 19/10/2021:

We are pleased to advise that the water levels have stabilised on the Burnley stretch of the canal and the Barrowford Lock Flight has reopened to navigation.

To those on the Burnley section of the canal, the last point of turning before the closure between Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge and Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge is Simpson’s Bridge, Bridge 111D.

A further update will be provided Friday 22 October. 

Update on 18/10/2021:

Works to pump water to the Burnley section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal over the breach between Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge and Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge are underway.

Whilst more equipment is needed, over the weekend we took delivery of 540m of pipe and partially laid onsite. More equipment will be arriving over the next 2 days, and we expect to be pumping water past the breach towards the end of this week.

Additional pumps were also brought in over the weekend to help raise the section of canal towards Blackburn. Once the water supply has been stabilised, we will be able to determine if we can open the closed lock flights to limited operation.

Our teams continue to remove debris from site which will allow us to further investigate the area and help determine the repairs and timescale required. We are hoping to have more information on this later this week.

We continue to speak to and assist all those affected by this closure and we urge anyone further to contact our North West Customer Support Team on 03030 404040 if you, or someone you know, is seeking help in the affected area.  

A further update will be provided Friday 22 October.

Update on 12/10/2021:

The dams have been successfully installed on site to isolate the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

We have worked with fishery management specialists to carry out a fish rescue from the isolated de-watered section of the canal and the immediate flood area on the route to Hyndburn Brook.

Our teams are working together to utilise the existing water resources we have to be able to manage the levels along the canal and whilst water levels are taking a little longer to recover on the Blackburn side, we are pleased to see the water levels towards Burnley slowly returning to normal operating levels.

We will be installing a pumping scheme to keep the water flowing along to the lower sections of the canal and hope to have this installed by next week. To keep a safe working environment, the towpath closure will extend from Bridge 109 to Bridge 112, Church Kirk Changeline. Once we have stabilised the water supply, we will be able to determine if we can open the closed lock flights to limited operation.

Our teams continue to investigate the cause of the breach and determine a method of repair. Following these investigations, we will be in a better position to provide the timescales of repair.

A further update will be provided Monday 18 October.  

Update on 11/10/2021:

Please note, the towpath remains closed between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, only.


Update on 11/10/2021:

Our teams have been working throughout the night to try and stabilise the significant leak between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, unfortunately, during the early hours of this morning the canal bank has breached.

Dams are currently being installed onsite and our teams are organising a method of repair, including pumps to be able to pump water over the affected area to maintain a feed to the lower section of the canal.

To help conserve water in the surrounding areas, the following Lock Flights are closed:

  • Barrowford Locks
  • Blackburn Locks
  • Johnsons Hillocks
  • Wigan Flight

A further update will be provided tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday 12 October.

NAVIGATION CLOSURE (Sunday 10 October 2021 until further notice)

A closure to navigation and towpath is required between Bridges 109 (New Barn Bridge) and 110 (Aspen Bridge) on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Rishton, while our engineers investigate significant leakage through the bed of the canal.

Due to the volume of water loss, please be advised that water levels between Barrowford Bottom Lock (No.51) and Blackburn Top Lock (No.52) may be affected and lower than normal.  We advise against unneccesary travel through this area until repairs have been completed.

An update will be issued on Monday 11 October.