Pocklington Canal



Thank you to everyone who brought their boat to our Boat Rally in July 2018. This celebrated the bicentenary of the opening of the Pocklington Canal in 1818 and the reopening of two miles of canal, from Melbourne to Bielby.

Our next Boat Rally is on 13-15 September. See the Events page for details.

If you would like advice on bringing a boat at any time please see the Contacts page

Navigation of the Pocklington Canal and access via the tidal River Ouse and River Derwent
You are strongly advised to discuss your plans with the lock keeper at Barmby Barrage when planning to take a boat onto the Derwent, to ensure that the water level in the river is adequate for navigaton. Ring 01757 638579.

This advice (pdf file) should help you plan your trip, but please read this disclaimer. Here is a link to a useful waterways map in case you are not sure where to find the Pocklington Canal.

When you pass though Barmby Lock you must purchase a River Derwent Boat Certificate, which is valid for 12 months. The normal cost is £12, but this has been reduced to £6 because Sutton Lock (Elvington Lock) is closed at present. This does not affect access to the Pocklington Canal.

The Pocklington Canal is navigable from East Cottingwith, where it joins the River Derwent, to the Bielby Arm, a distance of approximately seven miles. Hopefully the following information will be useful, but please get in touch if you need more information. PCAS contacts

The navigable length of the canal lies in an area that is of both national and international importance for its wildlife. Please treat it with respect (see below). It is a rural canal with natural banking and you may need to use your boarding plank.

You will need a standard twin socket windlass for the locks. A handcuff key (also known as an anti-vandal key or T-key) needed to unlock the swing-bridges. Please ensure that these bridges are kept locked to prevent vandals swinging the bridge to damage the brickwork. A Canal & River Trust Facilities Key (Watermate key) is needed to remove the spindle covers on the hydraulic paddlegear at Cottingwith Lock and to use the water point and sanitary station at Melbourne Arm. There is a water point on the 48 hour mooring. The canal has natural banking, so a boarding plank may be needed to get on and off your boat.

Navigational challenges
The Pocklington Canal is a delightful rural waterway, but care needs to be taken to avoid problems. During the summer the Pocklington Canal becomes very weedy and you will need to take care to keep your filter clear if your engine is cooled by canal water.

The notorious Pocklington Weed will wrap itself around the prop shaft and you will need to clear it periodically. A quick burst of reverse may remove the weed but anything more will just wrap it around in the opposite direction. By keeping in the centre of the channel, avoiding ploughing through floating weed and keeping your speed down you will minimise the problem. PCAS has purchased and refurbished a weed-cutting boat and this has been in use since 2015. The Canal & River Trust will be carrying out a full cut of the navigable length prior to the July 2018 Boat Rally.

The two locks currently in use – Cottingwith and Gardham locks – have no ground paddles, so you need to be careful with the gate paddles when ascending in these locks. There is a swingbridge across the chamber of Gardham Lock.

During the winter months and sometimes into the spring, the Derwent and the canal, especially below Gardham Lock, can flood and it is unwise to plan a visit under these conditions. Information about the current and recent water level in the Derwent can be found online. The nearest gauging station is at Bubwith Bridge.

Problems can be reported to the Canal & River Trust by telephone. The number for all non-emergency enquiries is: 0303 040 4040. For genuine emergencies, ring 0800 47 999 47.

Moorings and boaters' facilities
There is a 30 metre 48 hour visitor mooring at Melbourne Arm. The sanitary station has a toilet (always clean) and a sluice for emptying chemical toilets. The other facilities available are water, rubbish disposal, car parking and a nearby pub, the Melbourne Arms – see links page.. There is no electricity supply. There is a water point on the 48 hour visitor mooring and another at the sanitary station. The water point at Hagg Bridge was removed but still appears on some maps.

The only permanent moorings on the canal are at Melbourne Arm. Search for available moorings on the Canal & River Trust's website.

Other facilities
There is a village shop in Melbourne. Head up the lane, turn right on the main road beside the pub and it the shop is on the left, beyond the Village Hall.
There is a limited bus service to various destinations including Pocklington and York.

The Breighton Ferry pub on the River Derwent has a slipway that can be used for a charge of £5 (correct in 2016). Contact the Breighton Ferry, Breighton, Bubwith, Selby, North Yorkshire, England YO8 6DH, Tel. 01757 288 407 for more details.

Canoes and kayaks are frequenlty launched at Melbourne Arm, either in the basin or from one of the landing stages beside the swing-bridge at the entrance to Melbourne Arm.

Head of Navigation plaques

You can collect a plaque, price £10, when you visit Melbourne Arm. Contact details are on the noticeboard inside the sanitary station.

This was compiled by the Pocklington Canal Liaison Group because of the considerable wildlife interest of the canal.

· Avoid excessive speed
In order to protect the special features it is recommended that you do not exceed a speed of 3 mph on the canal. Be prepared to travel even more slowly where it is shallow.

· Think about other waterway users

Be considerate to anglers and towpath users.

· Avoid disturbing wildlife

· Avoid creating turbidity

Plants need light to grow in the water. Keep the boat in the channel, where the water is deepest, to avoid stirring up mud from the canal bed and eroding banks.

· Avoid damaging water plants

Rotation of the propeller and movement of the boat can tear out roots and damage plants.

· Take particular care when mooring or stopping to operate locks and swing-bridges

Approach the bank gently and avoid running the engine at high speed to stop the boat. Moor only at appropriate mooring points.

· Avoid causing pollution
Take particular care to ensure that oily bilge water, detergents including washing-up liquid, cleaning agents, and fuel are not discharged into the water. Be careful with fishing tackle: discarded line and weights can kill wildlife.



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