Section of canal in Chorley is drained as £15m winter makeover programme continues

Folk have been staring into an ‘empty’ Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Wheelton where lock gate work is being carried out.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:38 pm
The drained section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Wheelton
The drained section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Wheelton

The scheme, which involved draining a section of the canal, is part of a £15m winter makeover of historic North West waterways.

The Canal & River Trust is carrying out essential repairs, upgrades and maintenance work throughout the region.

As part of the four-month programme, which is due to finish in mid-March, the Trust’s expert engineering teams are replacing worn-out lock gates, dredging waterways and carrying out a host of tasks to keep the 200-year old network in good working order.

Work has included major projects on the Ashton, Huddersfield Narrow, Lancaster, Leeds & Liverpool, Rochdale and Shropshire Union canals, plus the Ribble Link, near

Preston. feel happier and healthier by water and over the pandemic particularly, waterways have offered a valuable lifeline for so many, providing perfect spots for local recreation and

exercise.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Trust is unable to offer its usual on-site open days for visitors to get a special behind-the-scenes view of canal repairs and conservation work

in progress.

However instead this year, it has produced a virtual open day in Manchester, focusing on the lock gate repair works at Brownsfield Lock 83 on the

Rochdale Canal in Ancoats, the regenerated heart of the old cotton industry.

The North West canal winter works programme includes the Leeds & Liverpool Canal where, at Johnsons Hillock Lock 58, Wheelton, new bottom gates and fenders are being installed, lock ladders repaired and masonry repointed.

Daniel Greenhalgh, North West regional director for the Canal & River Trust, said: “With many of the region’s canals constructed over two centuries ago, it’s important to

stay on top of regular maintenance and keep the waterways in good condition.

“We always try to minimise inconvenience to boaters by carrying out this routine work in the winter months.

“Research proves people feel happier and healthier by water and over the pandemic particularly, waterways have offered a valuable lifeline for so many, providing perfect

spots for local recreation and exercise.

“That’s why it’s so important that we keep them open and safe for everyone to use, whether people enjoy a waterside stroll, cycling, boating or angling.

“Our specialist engineering teams have continued to work in covid-safe bubbles throughout the lockdowns. They have had to deal with some incredibly challenging weather, including Storm Christoph, bringing storm damage and flooding.

“ T h e y ’ve m a d e g re at progress over the last few months and by carrying out these works, we will be protecting our historic waterways for future generations - ensuring they continue to make a real difference to people’s lives today.”

The virtual open day can be viewed at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-thewaterways/events/ open-days-2020-21/brownsfield-lock-83-virtual-open day.