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Waterway to celebrate canal’s 200th birthday

Looking downstream at Pocklington Canal from Swing Bridge 7.
Looking downstream at Pocklington Canal from Swing Bridge 7.

A bumper programme of events has been planned to mark the 200th birthday of the Pocklington Canal.

The partnership that looks after the waterway, the Canal and River Trust and local group Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, will be hosting a series of free events and activities to encourage the community to celebrate its history and support its future.

Friends of Pocklington Green Spaces carry out repointing on Church Bridge.

Friends of Pocklington Green Spaces carry out repointing on Church Bridge.

Some of the highlights include:

l Oral history workshop on Tuesday 13 March – share your experiences of the Pocklington Canal and be part of this exciting heritage exhibition.

l Easter activities on Sunday 1 April and Monday 2 April – build a nest, join the nature trail and take a trip aboard the passenger boat New Horizons.

l Archaeology workshop on Sunday 22 April – help sort recent finds and see how to be part of the next dig in July.

Pocklington Canal's Thornton Lock following restoration in 2017.

Pocklington Canal's Thornton Lock following restoration in 2017.

l Heritage open day on Sunday 20 May – step back into the canal’s past with interactive activities.

l Wildlife sessions between May and September – learn how to identify species of trees, birds, bugs, pondlife, bats and more!

l Nature open day on Sunday 24 June – take a guided walk, try kayaking and build a bird box

l Bicentenary festival and boat rally on Saturday 28 July and Sunday 29 July – a whole weekend of activities for all the family

Coracle sailing as part of the Discovery Day at Canal Head.

Coracle sailing as part of the Discovery Day at Canal Head.

Opened in 1818, the 9.5-mile canal was built to carry all sorts of goods, including coal, manure, flour and timber, but was superseded shortly afterwards by railways in the mid-19th Century.

Having fallen into dereliction, today the canal has been partly restored and boats are able to travel along half its length. It is also an important wildlife habitat for local people to enjoy.

Lizzie Dealey, Pocklington Canal project officer at Canal and River Trust, said: “Pocklington Canal is special for its heritage, wildlife, structural features and the story behind its restoration. It is an important and much-loved community space, and we’re looking forward to celebrating its 200th birthday.

“It may only be a few miles long but the Pocklington Canal has a lot to offer for people and wildlife so we encourage everyone to come along and get involved in the events and activities.”

Walbut Lock in 1969 or 1970.

Walbut Lock in 1969 or 1970.

Leading up to the bicentenary celebrations, staff and volunteers from Canal and River Trust and Pocklington Canal Amenity Society are working hard on several restoration and enhancement projects. Repairs to Church Bridge and Thornton Lock have been completed, and PCAS’ work on Walbut Lock is currently underway. Several sessions to cut back overgrown trees and bushes along the canal towpath have also taken place.

To see the full programme of events, visit: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/events

Canal Head back in 1970.

Canal Head back in 1970.