As part of its annual programme of restoration and repairs to the historic waterways across the country, the Rivers and Canal Trust is undertaking essential maintenance works on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal this winter.
The Trust is investing around £400,000 to carry out important repairs to the canal at lock 22 in Uppermill and locks 16 and 14 in Mossley and lock 8 in Stalybridge.
Skilled workmen and engineers from the Trust will be carrying out the important repairs. Sections of the canal will be drained of water and hundreds of fish rescued and moved to other parts of the canal before the old lock gates are lifted out by a crane and new ones fitted.
The new lock gates are hand-crafted using traditional methods in the Trust’s specialist workshops at Bradley in the West Midlands and Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire. A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of between 25 and 30 years. In order to be watertight they need to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the masonry of the lock walls and to each other.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Trust said: “The Huddersfield Narrow Canal is much loved but people may not realise that there’s quite a lot of work needed to look after it. We’re investing quite a bit of money into new lock gates. It’s painstaking, specialised work but the canal is an important part of the region’s heritage so it’s right that we devote some time and craftsmanship to help continue its restoration and protect it for future generations. The new hand-crafted lock gates will help to conserve water and keep the canal running smoothly so everyone can enjoy it.”