THE Canal & River Trust has announced that further lock flights and sections of canal in the North of England are able to reopen following recent rainfall.
Heavy rainfall in September has replenished canal pounds and led to some refill of reservoirs enabling sections to be reopened to boats.
Locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Gargrave and Wigan Top Lock have now been reopened. It follows the reopening of the eastern section of the canal earlier in September meaning that boaters will now be able to use the canal between the top of Wigan Flight and Leeds.
Locks at Barrowford (locks 45-51), Greenberfield (locks 42-44), Bank Newton (locks 36-41), and Gargrave (lock 30) will operate within restricted opening times (between 10am and 4pm each day) to protect reservoir levels and enable pounds to recover ready for the following days boating.
The canal at Wigan will reopen once works to repair locks 73 and 81 are completed. The flight is expected to be available for use over the October half term holidays, which is a popular time for many boaters. With works being brought forward from the winter maintenance programme the canal between Wigan Flight and Liverpool will be available to use throughout the winter.
The Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals are set to open on 6th October once works at Lock 11 are completed. Locks will be open each day between 8am and 1pm for the first week and then, subject to water resources, will reopen as soon as possible afterwards.
Elsewhere the Huddersfield Narrow, Caldon and Rochdale canals are all fully open – although the latter is still being closed overnight at Hebden Bridge to preserve water.
Further south, where the limited rainfall has not significantly improved reservoir holdings, the Trust is restricting opening times in a number of places. The precautionary measures will see locks at Watford (locks 1-7) and Foxton on the Leicester Line (locks 8-17) open between 10am and 4pm and Buckby on the Grand Union Canal (locks 8-11) open between 8am and 5pm. These follow earlier restrictions in place at Napton, Marston Doles (both 10am – 4.30pm) and Claydon (10am – 4pm) on the Oxford Canal.
Jon Horsfall, head of customer service support at the Canal & River Trust said; “It’s fantastic that the recent rainfall has enabled us to reopen further sections of canal for boaters to enjoy. The storms in September have by no means resolved the drought situation entirely but they have improved water holdings enough for boats to get back on the move in many places.
“It gives boaters time to enjoy some cruising ahead of the winter. We’d like to thank all the boaters and businesses on those sections of canal affected for the understanding and patience they’ve shown over the summer.
“We are still seeing some challenging conditions on parts of the network in the south where rainfall has been lighter and so not significantly boosted reservoir holdings. That’s why we’re introducing some sensible precautions on the Oxford Canal and Grand Union – including the Leicester Line – to make the best possible use of our water resources and enable boats to get to where they need to be.”
To get further detail on opening times go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices.