Thousands of visitors flocked to a stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to catch a rare glimpse of two impressive 18th century canal structures.
The Canal and River Trust, the charity in charge of managing 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, opened up the Dowley Gap Aqueduct and neighbouring two rise locks after draining it for maintenance, giving a unique insight into the inner workings of the canal.
During the event, more than 2,200 visitors of all ages took the opportunity to walk along a drained 50 metre section of the 240 year old aqueduct, and ventured 20ft into the bottom of the locks as part of the trust’s annual waterway maintenance programme.
Iain Weston, waterway manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: “Thousands of visitors pass these structures each year but many might not realise what it takes to keep them in top working order. As a new charity, it’s important to get support from local communities in order to help us continue to protect what the great industrial pioneers of the 18th century left as their legacy.
“People commented that they’ve passed the locks and aqueduct so many times before but what was really impressive was to walk down inside them, get a close up look at the construction and learn interesting facts about how my teams carry out this work. Our aims during these open days have been to showcase these incredible heritage structures and to give local communities the chance to experience what they wouldn’t get a chance to see otherwise.”
People wanting to know more about how lock gates are carefully crafted to fit each individual lock can find out at a special Open Day at Stanley Ferry Workshop in Wakefield on Sunday, April 14.
Visit: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/donate or call 0303 0404040