THE restoration of Walbut Lock on Pocklington Canal is now complete, meaning this summer a further two miles of the waterway will become navigable for the first time in nearly a century.
Led by Pocklington Canal Amenity Society (PCAS), in partnership with Canal & River Trust, the challenging task of bringing the lock back into operation began last year.
With consent from Historic England and advice from the Trust’s heritage team, work on the Grade II Listed structure started in December 2017 when temporary dams were installed.
By holding back the water in the canal, PCAS volunteers were then able to repair historic brickwork in the lock and fit ladders for the use of boaters. The massive lock gates were replaced, complete with distinctive six-spoked paddle gear wheel – used for emptying and filling the lock – which is a particular feature of the Pocklington Canal.
This restoration completes the PCAS Bicentenary Restoration Appeal Project, which has seen both Thornton Lock and Walbut Lock painstakingly restored. Coupled with the extensive dredging and weed cutting carried out by Canal & River Trust over the winter months, this will see the canal between Melbourne Arm and Bielby Arm useable by boats to mark the 200th anniversary of the canal’s original opening this summer.
Paul Waddington, PCAS chairman, said: “We are delighted that the restoration project has been completed in time for our bicentenary celebrations at the end of July. Our volunteers have worked through the coldest and wettest months over this past winter and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this wonderful historic canal.”
Lizzie Dealey, project officer at Canal & River Trust, said: “The completion of Walbut Lock is a key milestone in bringing the whole of the 9 ½ mile Pocklington Canal back into use by boaters.
“Throughout our Heritage Lottery Funded project we have seen a lot of local interest in the waterway, and we’re delighted that with PCAS and other partners such as Natural England, we’re able to keep this waterway thriving. Our research shows that simply spending time by a canal makes you healthier and happier, so we’re delighted that, 200 years after it was first built, we’re able to bring another stretch of this magnificent canal back into working use.”
The Pocklington Canal Bicentenary Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday July 28-29 , starting at 10am on both days. Highlights include:
- Boat trips aboard New Horizons
- Willow weaving
- Morris dancing
- History and wildlife activities
- Rusticus Theatre guided walks
- Live music
- Boat rally
- Brass band performance
- Coracle sailing
For further details on the festival as well as other events and activities taking place along Pocklington Canal this summer, visit: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/pocklington