Secrets of canal giant to be
unlocked at public open day

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ONE of Yorkshire’s most impressive canal locks will be drained and opened for public tours during a £150,000 lock gate replacement project.

The Canal & River Trust is inviting the public to a behind-the-scenes look at Bulholme Lock in Castleford on Sunday November 18.

This incredible feat of engineering on the Aire & Calder Navigation has a 460ft-long lock and visitors will be able to walk along the lock bottom and ask questions of trust experts.

Eric Walker, construction supervisor for the Bulholme project, said: “These gates have completed their working life now and have been in place for over 25 years. They’re being replaced by new ones that have been made of oak to exactly the same dimensions and design at Stanley Ferry Workshop in Wakefield.

“This canal was built to cater for freight traffic so the lock gates themselves weigh between five-six tonnes and measure up to seven metres high.”

“We’ll be replacing the top and middle sets of gates and replacing the lock gate operating equipment as well as other general repairs inside the lock chamber. This means we’ll be fully draining the lock to undertake the repairs which should take around four weeks to complete.”

Built in the 18th century, Bulholme Lock has undergone alterations and enlargements in 1862, 1884, 1900 and the 1970s up to its present size of 460ft in length and a 8ft 3inch rise in order to enable larger boats to use the system.

The Aire & Calder Navigation was built on a grand scale so that large loads could be carried from the North Sea.