This winter the Canal & River Trust is hosting a series of free winter open days to showcase the work and attention that goes into keeping the nation’s network of canals and rivers open and available for people to use and enjoy.
The Trust, the waterways and wellbeing charity that looks after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, carries out much of its heavy maintenance at this time of year to keep disruption to boaters and towpath visitors to a minimum.
Between now and the arrival of spring, the Trust is draining stretches of canal as it replaces 118 lock gate leaves and carries out important repairs and inspections to 200-year-old canal structures including Scheduled Ancient Monuments and a World Heritage Site. The public is being given ‘behind the scenes’ access at ten different sites.
The open days will give visitors access into drained lock chambers on the Grand Union Canal, River Soar and Trent & Mersey Canal, whilst repairs to the ‘Cathedral of the Canals’ – Anderton Boat Lift – and the draining for inspection of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct both provide an amazing opportunity to get a rarely-seen view of two of the ‘wonders of the waterways’. A number of the events, including at Sharpness Dock where the canal network connects with the sea, will highlight the Trust’s #plasticschallenge which invites people to get involved in helping to stop the flow of plastic litter into the world’s oceans.
Because the open days are often linked to winter construction and maintenance work, many of the precise dates will be confirmed on the Canal & River Trust website nearer the time.