Waterways and wellbeing charity, the Canal & River Trust, is inviting members of the public to climb down into a drained section of the River Trent as part of a behind the scenes tour of works to replace giant lock gates.
The Trust is inviting local people to venture down to the bottom of Newark Town Lock which has been drained for major lock gate replacement works. The charity is investing £330,000 in the lock as part of its winter maintenance programme.
On 26 and 27 February visitors will be able to get a rare insight into the inner workings of the lock by venturing around 20 feet deep onto the lock floor. They will be able to see the giant lock gates up close, speak to waterway specialists about how locks are repaired and find out about the structure’s 200-year-old masonry work that is usually hidden below the waterline. Guided tours within the drained lock will give people a unique opportunity to explore their local canal and hear about the charity’s work to protect and preserve the waterway.
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As well as descending down into the lock visitors will also be able to take a peek inside the nearby dry dock, one of the largest of its kind in the country, and explore the Leicester Trader, one of the few remaining Trent-sized barges that used to carry cargoes on the river.
Families will be able to take part in arts and craft activities and explore a special interactive model showing how locks work on Saturday 26 February.
On Sunday 27 February visitors can have a go at fishing with the Trust’s Let’s Fish! sessions or join in with water safety demonstrations, trying to hit a target with a safety throw line.
Diana Vogtel, community engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “The works at Newark Town Lock are a great example of the work that we do to ensure our historic waterways are protected and preserved for boaters and the local community to use and enjoy.
“We’re really excited to open the works up to the public and to give local people the rare opportunity to walk along the lock floor. Descending down to the bottom of the lock and staring up at the giant oak lock gates is a real experience.
“It’s a great way to bring local history to life and show people the work that we do to look after this important part of the area’s heritage. Research shows that being by water has a positive effect on people’s physical and mental wellbeing events like this are so important in encouraging more people to spend time by the river.”
This winter the Canal & River Trust is undertaking a £59 million major overhaul across the 2,000 miles of waterways in its care, as part of a five-month maintenance programme to canals and rivers across England and Wales. Essential maintenance will include the replacement and refurbishment of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs, bridges and tunnels.
The new lock gates at Newark Town Lock have been made in the Trust’s specialist workshop at Stanley Ferry in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from sustainably-sourced British oak and has a working life of 25-30 years.
The open days run from 10am until 4pm each day with pay and display parking available at Riverside car park.
To find out more about the work of the Canal & River Trust, including how you can support through volunteering or making a donation go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
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