News and Archive

NEWS ARCHIVE – 2006 - 2014

Please note that links in this archive are not maintained – some pages will have moved or disappeared

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22 September 2014 – Ernie Darrell

We are very sorry to report that Ernie has passed away suddenly and we offer condolences to his wife Jennifer and his family.

Ernie loved boating and the canal, and has been a very active crew member on New Horizons, the PCAS trip boat, in recent years. An obituary will appear in the next issue of Double Nine. Funeral details

24 August 2014 – WRG Canal Camp

Six volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group spent a week (16-23 August) working on the towpath of the Pocklington Canal, between Giles Lock and Sandhill Lock. A stump grinder was used to remove the many tree roots protruding from the surface. The sloping part of the towpath was levelled excavating material from the higher parts and building up other areas, repairing damage that has occurred over many years. Shuttering is being installed by PCAS working party volunteers to maintain the integrity of the repaired surface, which will be seeded with grass. Here are a few photos of the work.

The six WRG volunteers and another six who were involved in creating a new waterside trail between Wansford Lock and Whin Hill Lock on the Driffield Navigation stayed at Pocklington School. The group had a trip on the PCAS trip boat on the Wednesday evening and there is a photo of the group on the trip boat photo gallery.

Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camp

The Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) will be working on the Pocklington Canal and Driffield Navigation for a week, starting on 16 August 2014. On the Pocklington Canal, work will be done on the towpath to remove protruding tree roots and to level the towpath between Giles Lock and Sandhill Lock. More information

The PCAS contact for the project is Roger Bromley.

4 August – Official Reopening of No 8 Swingbridge

Photo courtesy of Roger Pattison

Richard Parry, the Chief Executive Officer of the Canal and River Trust, formally reopened No 8 Swingbridge on the Pocklington Canal on Friday 1st August. The occasion marked a further stage in the restoration of the canal. Originally provided as an accommodation bridge for the local farmer, and also carrying a public footpath, the original swinging structure was replaced by a fixed one soon after the canal ceased to be navigable in 1932. A new steel structure was installed by the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society in the early 1990s, but without a pintle, the bearing on which the bridge swings, as there was no immediate prospect of navigation being restored. With the help of funds donated to the Society by the Pocklington Canal Boat Club, the pintle was installed in 2013, and further works were undertaken to comply with CRT’s safety requirements. Speaking at the opening ceremony, which was attended by several members of the Society, Richard Parry praised the work of the Canal Society’s volunteers, and of all the volunteers working on the canal system nationwide. Also present was Peter Slater of Slater Engineering, the local company that manufactured and installed the pintle.

Press release with notes for editors

1 May – Weed boat Sheila Nix

A year ago, PCAS acquired a weed-cutting boat from the Canal & River Trust. It had not been used for years and the condition had deteriorated. Working party volunteers led by Dick Watson have done a lot of work on the boat. Agricultural engineer John Lewis has been working on the complex mechanical system and replaced parts of the hydraulic system and one of the cutter bars.

The boat will be inspected and insured before it is returned to the water. At present it is at a farm near the canal. Thanks to volunteer Andrew Brett for this photo.

A photo of the weed boat prior to refurbishment can be seen here.

24 April – PCAS Committee
Roger Bromley has taken over the role of Vice Chairman from Graham Ball, who will continue as Secretary of PCAS. Contact details for all committee members can be found here.

8 April – PCAS AGM
We welcome Adrian Koster to the PCAS Committee. He will be taking over from Roger Bromley as editor of our magazine, Double Nine. All the existing committee members will continue to serve. At the meeting it was resolved to decrease the quorum from 10% to 5% of fully paid-up members.

The meeting was followed by an excellent presentation by Phil Gilbank of the Pocklington and District Local History Group. He talked about the history of Pocklington and the surrounding land and water courses from ancient times. We hope to involve Phil and his colleagues in our forthcoming celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the canal.

March 8 and 9 Waterway Recovery Group work camp
A report of the WRG work camp will appear in the summer isssue of Double Nine. In the meantine, here is a photo of the hard-working WRGies ready to start work again after lunch on Saturday.

March 2014 Waterway Recovery Group work camp
The weekend of 8-9 March will see the first visit of WRG since 1998. WRG North West will be working on clearing scrub and trees near Bielby. Natural England and the Canal & River Trust are keen for this work to be done to decrease shading of this section of canal, which lies in a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We will have to keep out of the way of chainsaws, but hopefully there will be some opportunities to take photos.

Pocklington Canal on TripAdvisor
There is not much to report at the moment, but you might be interested to read several positive reports about the canal and boat trips.

February 2014 – Waterway Routes maps of the Pocklington Canal
Waterway Routes visited the Pocklington Canal last year and their maps are now available as a free download. It is a large file

February 2014 – Moorings available on the Pocklington Canal
The Canal & River Trust has advertised the first of four long-term leisure moorings available at the Melbourne Arm of the canal.

5 February 2014 – Memorial Stone at Canal Head

Place your cursor over the first photo to read the inscription

Chris Brown approached the Canal & River Trust on behalf of his uncle, Charlie Ross to ask for permission to errect a memorial stone and plaque at Canal Head. Charlie was living with his family close to Canal Head when a bomber came down 70 years ago (27th Nov 1943). Most of the crew died but two miraculously survived. Two people who lived in Ings House also died. Charlie paid for the stone and plaque as he has vivid recollections of the crash and wanted to commemorate the tragedy. He was in the house (Ramsdale Terrace, now demolished) that stood near the Wellington Oak, with his mother, two sisters (one of whom is Chris’ mother Evelyn) and his father who is mentioned as one of the rescuers.

The new memorial stone and plaque are now in place at Canal Head. The first photo shows Chris Brown with the stone and Ings House in the background. In the second photo, from left to right, are Harold (Charlie) Ross,  Martin and Elinda Ratcliffe who now own Ings House and Chris’ Mum, Evelyn who is Charlie’s sister.
Chris said ‘It's been a long time coming but I'm so pleased to have commemorated the crew for my uncle at last.'

Thanks to Judy Jones of the Canal & River Trust for this information

January 2014 – Updated 'Kingfisher Leaflet'

The popular 'Kingfisher Leaflet' describing the wildlife and heritage of the Pocklington Canal has been updated and reprinted. You can pick up a copy at the PCAS Information Centre at Canal Head or on the PCAS trip boat New Horizons.

Click on the image to view the contents of the leaflet.

The main funding for the 10,000 leaflets has been made available through the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways LEADER programme (Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union. More information about the programme. We are also very grateful to the Canal & River Trust and others for their support.

This is the third version of Kingfisher Leaflet. This and the information panels at various sites along the canal were an initiative of the Pocklington Canal Liaison Group, which meets regularly to discuss the canal and its management.



14 January 2014 – Canal & River Trust receives Lottery funding
Article on CRT website
Announcement on HLF website

Article in Yorkshire Post

The Canal & River Trust has received funding of £47,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This will fund essential preparatory work for a larger bid, later this year. The bid was developed in partnership with the East & North Yorkshire Waterway Partnership, Natural England, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society. The group will continue to work together to prepare for submission of a full bid for around £500 k. As before, this will be submitted by CRT, the owners of the canal.


November 2013 – Waterway Recovery Group to visit the canal next year
The Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has agreed to have a Canal Camp on the Pocklington Canal starting on 16 August 2014. This is expected to last a week and will be hosted by PCAS.

The task will be to restore about 450 metres of towpath between Giles Lock and Sandhill Lock, parts of which are sloping and uneven, and there are some exposed tree roots. The aim is to keep the towpath natural. The work to be done has been agreed with the Canal & River Trust. WRG is also likely to visit the Pocklington Canal early in the new year, to carry out shrub and tree clearance, though the date is not yet known. This work will be carried out in liaison with the Canal & River Trust and Natural England, as part of the maintenance needed to maintain a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

In the past, WRG has provided considerable support for PCAS, mainly with lock restoration projects. WRG is a subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association and their volunteers are involved in various canal restoration projects around the country. There is plenty of demand for WRG canal camps, so it is good news for PCAS that they have agreed to hold a Canal Camp on 'our' canal.

November 2013 – A new old photo

Here is a splendid photo of George Leather Jr, the canal engineer responsible for building the Pocklington Canal. It was kindly provided by one of his decendents.

PCAS is planning various events to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Act of Parliament authorising construction of the canal. If you could lend us any old photos, please get in touch with any committee member of PCAS.

The following links that explain the involvement of George Leather Jr:

Pocklington and District Local History Group


October 2013 – Mooring pontoons refurbished at Melbourne Arm

Canal & River Trust contractors have carried out work to refurbish the six pontoons at Melbourne. These pontoons, which are the only permanent moorings on the Pocklington Canal, were installed in 1987 and were in a poor state. The timber legs have been encased in metal sleeves and much of the timber has been replaced. The refurbished pontoons have non-slip surfaces similar to those on the landing stages installed at swing-bridges and locks.

2 September 2013 – Our canal heritage
Here is a new video produced by the Heritage Team of the Canal & River Trust, which is responsible for a large number of historic structures on our waterways network. Boaters and others who explore British canals will be familiar with many of these structures and their history. This video features Judy Jones, Heritage Advisor for the North East and Manchester and Pennine Waterways

It is worth mentioning that the Pocklington Canal has considerable heritage value. Not only are all four road bridges and all nine locks Grade II listed, but the canal has escaped building of new bridges and housing estates, helped by its rural location. In recent years, Judy Jones has been one of our main contacts with the Canal & River Trust, and British Waterways before the Trust was formed, helping PCAS in many ways. Most recently she contributed plans for conservation of Church Bridge, our most important heritage feature, as part of the bid for Lottery funding mentioned below.

30 August 2013 – New bid for Lottery funding
The Canal & River Trust has submitted a revised bid for Lottery funding. This will focus on improving the overgrown upper length of canal to promote biodiversity, heritage improvements and a programme of projects to improve the amenity value of the canal, involve volunteers and promote the canal in a way that will protect both the heritage and wildlife interest. More details to follow.

22 August 2013 – Off to the races
You are on the way to York races, where better to stop for a picnic than Canal Head. This group of ladies did just that.

22 August 2013 – Canal & River Trust Nature Walk
Phillippa Baron and Jonny Hart-Woods from the local Environment Team led a nature walk from Canal Head. Their expertise added a lot to what would otherwise have just been a pleasant walk down the canal on a sunny day.


August 2013 – Possible project for Waterway Recovery Group

The towpath between Giles and Sandhill locks has deteriorated with exposed tree roots and parts sloping down towards the canal, due to loss of surface material. This would be an expensive job if tackled by contractors, particularly since the towpath is not suitable for use by vehicles, making access difficult.

PCAS suggested that the work could be done more much more cheaply by Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) volunteers and the site has been examined by Canal & River Trust and WRG. If selected as a project by WRG, the work will probably be done by holding week-long work camps.

WRG volunteers have made substantial contributions to work at various sites on the Pocklington Canal in the past, the most recent being work on one of the chamber walls of Cottingwith Lock in 1998.

28 July 2013 – Pocklington Canal features in the Sunday Express
The Pocklington Canal is selected as one of ten 'hidden gems' in an article about the new online guide for Places to Visit published by the Canal & River Trust. There Trust has created a new map for the canal between Canal Head and Melbourne and an app for smartphones and tablets gives additional information about the Pocklington Canal and many other waterway sites of interest.

27 July 2013 – Inland Waterways Association Restoration Committee visit
On Saturday July 27th the Inland Waterways Association Restoration Committee held their meeting at Melbourne. This committee holds its meetings at venues in different parts of the country to make it fairer for their members who are spread around the UK. After their meeting they were given a short talk by our chairman and then shown some of the problem areas on our canal. The IWA has been very generous to PCAS in the past and we hope we can call on them for support in the future. (Report from Roger Bromley, who organised and attended the meeting, together with Paul Waddington)

29 June 2013 – Himalayan Balsam Work Party



Volunteers from the Inland Waterways Association and PCAS met at Melbourne Arm to tackle the Himalayan Balsam that has been growing near the small pond hidden behind the moorings. Lucy Dockray (in the photo) and Martin Walton of the Canal & River Trust, which owns the land, came along to supervise and join in the work. The work party then moved to Coates Bridge, another site where Himalayan Balsam has been growing.

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive species that creates problems on canals. It pulls out easily. This is best done before it flowers, to avoid dispersing the seeds.

Thanks to all involved and Alison Smedley from IWA, who visited the canal earlier in the year to identify affected areas and plan the work.


26 May 2013 – PCAS Spring Fête

This fundraising event raised several hundred pounds, which will be used to support canal maintenance and restoration. After a quiet start the sun came out and people started to arrive. Many thanks to everyone who supported the event.


May 2013 – PCAS acquires a weed-cutting boat


Work is to start soon on refurbishment of a weed cutting boat that PCAS has purchased from the Canal & River Trust. The photo shows the boat moored above Gardham Lock in 2009, soon after it was last used. In addition to repairs to the machinery, the boat will be thoroughly cleaned and repainted.

When the boat was transferred to PCAS, we learned that it is named Sheila Nix. Sheila was Secretary of PCAS for very many years.

Update - The East Yorkshire Branch of the Inland Waterways Association has awarded PCAS a grant of £500 towards the cost of refurbishing the weed-cutting boat.

9 May 2013 – New faces
Ernie Darrell and Peter Wood have been co-opted to the PCAS Committee. Ernie is a very active crew member on our trip boat, New Horizons. Peter joined PCAS recently and could become our Treasurer.

Debbie Smith remains on the Committee but has retired as Secretary. Our former Treasurer – Gordon Harrower – retired from the Committee some months ago when he moved out of the area. Adrian Lovett retired earlier this year to pursue his many other interests, which include horse-boating on canals.

We welcome our new faces and thank those who have left for all their hard work.

24 April 2013 – PCAS AGM
The meeting was attended by guests from the Canal & River Trust's North East Region. Jon Horsfall (Waterway Manager) and Jane Thomson (Enterprise Manager) both gave short talks and answered questions. Jon's team is involved in the management of the canal and supervising PCAS voluntary work on the canal, and Jane has put in a great deal of work on developing the HLF bid to seek major funding for the canal. Some of the PCAS Committee have had a great deal of contact with the Canal & River Trust, but this meeting was a very welcome opportunity for our members to meet with key contacts at CRT.

15 March 2013 – Visit by John Dodwell, Canal & River Trust trustee

In the past year, John Dodwell has been making a big effort to help organisations and individuals get to know about the Canal & River Trust and to listen to their views. John was involved in the transition of British Waterways to the new charitable Trust, which was launched last July. This photo was taken at the side of Thornton Lock during a site visit at which extension of navigation was discussed.

From left to right:
Judy Jones, Heritage Advisor, CRT
Paul Waddington, PCAS
Mike Marshall, Maintenance Manager, CRT
John Dodwell, CRT Trustee
Roger Bromley, PCAS

1 March 2013 – Plans for new HLF bid
A steering group consisting of representatives from the Canal & River Trust, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the local Waterways Partnership, Natural England and PCAS met for the first time today. It was agreed to submit a bid a smaller bid of up to £500,000, as recommended in the feedback from the Heritage Lottery Fund following rejection of a larger bid in December. More details soon.

30 February 2013 – New mooring at Melbourne Arm nearing completion

Canal & River Trust contractors May Gurney have installed a 30 metre mooring to replace the timber landing stage. The landing stage was in poor condition and an unsafe part had been removed some time ago. The work was started before Christmas but was held up by flooding.

The photo shows PCAS trip boat New Horizons testing the mooring. Boat trips will start on Good Friday.


17 December 2012 – Donation from Kay West
PCAS is delighted to have received a cheque for over £1600. As mentioned earlier, Kay chose our Society and Hornsea Inshore Rescue as her charities to support during her year as Chair of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Kay and her husband David are long-standing members of PCAS and live near Canal Head.

7 December 2012 – HLF bid unsuccessful
The Stage 1 bid for funding has been unsuccessful. The bid had been submitted by the Canal & River Trust, with considerable input from PCAS and other organisations (see below). Once feedback has been obtained, a new bid for funding will be formulated. This is very bad news, considering how much effort was put into the original bid, but not all applications for funding succeed at the first attempt.

December 2012 – New seat made from old balance beams installed at Canal Head











Balance beams made of railway track were removed from Cottingwith Lock when new gates were installed in 2009. These historic balance beams were saved and used to make a seat, which has been installed near Top Lock by working party volunteers. More information...

23 October 2012 – Weed-cutting boat
This boat has been purchased from the Canal & River Trust and will require work before it can be used.

The plan is for PCAS volunteers to put the boat back into working condition and to use it to keep the channel clear, a job which is currently done by CRT contractors.

The Canal & River Trust lifted the weed-cutting boat out of Melbourne Arm and it is now in their car park, nearby.

August 2012 – Heritage Lottery Fund bid
Plans to submit the Stage 1 bid for funding are progressing well, making use of feedback received from HLF for the pre-application document. The main items that will be included are: extension to the navigable length of the canal, improvements to the natural environment, improvements to the towpath, provision of a new interpretation centre at Canal Head, and the establishment of a training scheme for heritage skills. The Canal & River Trust has been advised by HLF to submit the bid alone rather than in partnership, but those organisations that have had considerable involvement (East Riding of Yorkshire Council and associated Waterways Partnership, Natural England and PCAS) are continuing to make as much input as before.

31 July 2012 – Death of Eric Lount
Eric Lount, a Founder Member and the first Chairman of PCAS, passed away on 31 July. Eric was involved in opposing the use of the canal for dumping waste, something that is now unthinkable but was a real threat in the 1950s. Eric was one of the farmers who had considerable involvement in the formation of PCAS and the early restoration work done on the canal. His contribution will be remembered in the next issue of Double Nine. The funeral will be held in Flamborough on Thursday 8 August. More information

July 2012 – Canal & River Trust appeal for funding for the Pocklington Canal
If you would like to make a donation to support improvement of the canal, this can be done via the CRT website.

July 2012 – Pocklington Canal bridges de-scheduled
Hagg Bridge, Church Bridge, Walbut Bridge and Coates Bridge were all Scheduled Ancient Monuments, but English Heritage regarded this protection as excessive. All four bridges are now Grade II Listed buildings. Church Bridge and Walbut Bridge were already listed. Hagg Bridge and Coates Bridge were listed before they were descheduled to ensure continuity of legal protection. All nine locks of the Pocklington Canal are also Grade II Listed structures. No. 3 swing-bridge, which crosses the chamber of Gardham Lock, forms part of the listed structure.

2 July 2012 – Welcome to the Canal & River Trust
Here is an announcement from the new Canal & River Trust, which has replaced British Waterways, the owners of the Pocklington Canal. The official launch of the new Trust will be on 12 July.


Today, on 2 July 2012, British Waterways ceases to exist in England and Wales and in its place the Canal & River Trust is born.
Staff from British Waterways and The Waterways Trust now work for the Canal & River Trust. You will see that work wear, letterheads, signage and so on are being rebranded, some on a more gradual and creative basis than others to keep costs down.
However the most important thing remains: that in an increasingly fast-paced and crowded world we will ensure our historic canals and rivers are a local haven for people and nature. Being a charity will enable more people to support our work, join us and get involved - donate, fundraise and volunteer.
Please visit our website to find out more and download our Shaping our Future document.

21 June 2012 – British Waterways submits a pre-application for Heritage Lottery Funding
The pre-application was submitted today and contains a summary of the built heritage assets of the canal and details of why it is important for nature conservation.

At the pre-application stage, no detail of the aims of the bid are included but one of the aims is to do work needed to extend navigation from Melbourne to Bielby, a distance of about two miles. Another aim is to provide a variety of visitor interpretation facilities. This could include a new building at Canal Head, plus improved parking facilities. A heritage training scheme is planned, and this could involve restoration of one or more of the derelict locks. The non-navigable length of the Pocklington Canal is declining and an important part of the funding bid will focus on environmental work to restore and enhance wildlife habitats, which are suffering as a result of overgrowth of vegetation and excessive tree shading.

The canal provides plenty of opportunity for community activities and learning opportunities. The intention is to focus on the upper end of the canal and not the canal below Melbourne, where the wildlife interest has international protection.

The pre-application will be strongly supported by Marion Blockley's consultation report, described below.

April 2012 – Committee changes and new Constitution
Hilary Anguish and Howard Anguish resigned their positions of Secretary and Joint Vice-Chairman, respectively, before the Annual General Meeting. We are very grateful for the considerable amount of work both have done on behalf of PCAS in the past two years.

One of the main topics discussed at the AGM (18 April) was the new PCAS Constitution. The proposed document (see below) was approved, subject to clarification of the membership renewal procedure and two amendments. The quorum for an AGM was raised from 5% to 10% (thus making it the same as in the old constitution). It was agreed to elect only the Chairman and the members of the Committee at the AGM, allowing the Chairman and Committee to elect its Officers and allocate responsibilities to Committee members. These decisions were made at a PCAS Committee meeting on 25 April.

New PCAS Committee
We welcome Maggie West and Bob Ellis as new members.

The revised constitution will be submitted to the Charities Commission for approval.

Easter 2012 – Heritage Lottery Fund bid
British Waterways are preparing a bid for the Pocklington Canal, making use of some of the suggestions in Marion Blockley's report. This will definitely include extension of navigation to Bielby and a new building at Canal Head.

The closing date for feedback on Marion's report is 20 April, so please have a look at it as soon as possible.

13 March 2012 – Exchange visitors from France see the Pocklington Canal
The Pocklington Canal has benefitted from LEADER funding, for work at Sandhill Lock, the new landing stages installed at locks and bridges on the canal and – most recently – for the detailed consultation report and plan carried out by Marion Blockley on behalf of British Waterways.

As part of a transnational co-operation project between our LEADER CWWW area and the equivalent LEADER area in Vallée du Cher,  LEADER are funding exchange 'information gathering' visits between the two waterway museums with the intention of creating a joint travelling exhibition explaining the similarities and differences in canal development both our areas. James Cokeham (Waterways Partnership Coordinator) and Alistair Anderson (PCAS) visited the Pocklington Canal with three guests from France and discussed some of suggestions made in Marion Blockley's report. Prior to this visit, Paul Cooper and Rachel Walker, from the Waterways Museum in Goole, had shown our guests the museum and its boats.

Montluçon is the main town in the Vallée du Cher on the northern edge of the the Auvergne region (as near the middle of France as you can get, approximatley 150 miles due south of Paris) the Musée du Canal de Berry is about 15 miles north of Montluçon near Vallon sur Cher.














From left to right
James Cokeham; Waterways Partnership Coordinator, East Riding & North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership
Marianne Brun; Rural Development Officer, Auvergne, Fr.
Florian Arnaud; Curator, Musee du Canal de Berry, Valle du Cher, Fr.
Rachel Walker; Yorkshire Waterways Museum Manager, Goole
Paul Cooper; Senior Manager, The Sobriety Project, Goole
Gwenola Bianchi; Cultural Development Officer, Valle du Cher. Fr.

17 February 2012 – The pintle saga
At long last, the manufacture and installation of the pintle at No. 8 swing-bridge will go ahead. The job will be done by a local contractor.

February 2012 – Volunteer Enterprise Assistant post
British Waterways has advertised for a Volunteer Enterprise Assistant to help prepare a bid for funding. This relates to the public consultation mentioned below and the plan to seek a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. [Update 13 March – this post has been given to David Houghton-Carter.]

31 January 2012 – Canal & River Trust funding
News on this site focuses on the Pocklington Canal, but perhaps it is worth mentioning funding for the Canal & River Trust, the new waterways charity that will take over from British Waterways later this year. An important press release about funding of the waterways was made today.

30 January 2012 – Pocklington Canal consultation and plan published

An extensive consultation with members of the public and organisations was carried out in summer 2011. The report, which includes suggestions for the future of the canal, has now been published and is available for comment. More details...












January 2012 – Please remember PCAS in your will

Towards the end of 2011 the society was very grateful to receive an extremely generous donation in the form of a legacy of thirty seven thousand pounds from the estate of the late Gerald Turner. This unexpected boost to Society’s funds will go towards the restoration of the canal and this magnificent gesture will be permanently acknowledged in due course by a suitable permanent plaque. Although it is something we don’t like to think about, we would urge you to remember the Society when you are drawing up your own will – any sum, large or more modest – will be very gratefully received and will help us to achieve our ultimate goal, the total restoration of the Pocklington Canal.


November 2011– Revised Constitution
A draft new Constitution has been prepared following the current guidelines of the Charities Commission. This document has been sent to the Charities Commission and hopefully the new Constitution will be adopted at the next PCAS Annual General Meeting.

7 June 2011 – Extension of navigation
Extending navigation to Bielby has been under discussion for the past couple of years and it seems likely that progress will be made soon. British Waterways will establish what work is needed to get Thornton Lock in usable condition. BW has provided PCAS with a revised specification for the pintle for No. 8 swing-bridge, which is needed to allow the bridge to open. Manufacture and installation of the pintle will be done by a local contractor. Once these jobs are completed, the final task needed to get to Bielby is re-planking of the bottom gates at Walbut Lock.

20 May 2011 – Kay West elected Chairman of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Kay West has been Mayor of Pocklington three times. She and her husband David are members of PCAS and live near Canal Head. They have been been very supportive of the Canal Society for many years. Not only is Kay to chair ERYC but will also be supporting PCAS and another charity during her year in office. Congratulations from PCAS on being elected and thanks for a pleasant surprise! More details

20 May 2011 – Donation from IWA to support crew training
PCAS has received a generous donation from the East Yorkshire Branch of the Inland Waterways Association. This is to support NCBA training of crew for the PCAS trip boat New Horizons, which has introduced many individuals and families to the Pocklington Canal during the seven years that we have been running boat trips. Many thanks to the Committee of the IWA Branch for their kind support.

16 May 2011 – The Golden Age of Canals
David Tomlinson, a founder member of PCAS, featured on the BBC4 programme The Golden Age of Canals, which described some of the history of how our canal system was saved after the decline in canal transport during the 20th century. David was involved in the restoration of the Stourbridge Canal before the formation of PCAS and he talked about the Stourbridge Canal in the programme. The programme is being repeated and is available on BBC iPlayer after each broadcast.

4 May 2011 – PCAS AGM
The AGM was held at the the Black Horse in Seaton Ross. Founder Members Sheila Nix MBE and David Tomlinson resigned from the Committee, having served since PCAS was formed in 1969. Sheila continues as Honorary Vice President of PCAS. Their contributions to the Society will be acknowledged in the July 2011 issue of Double Nine.

Jenny Brett also resigned, and Carol Booth had resigned earlier in the year. We are very grateful for their contributions to the Society.

Alistair Anderson and Howard Anguish received an equal number of votes for the position of Vice Chairman and this role will be shared. Debbie Smith, John Lewis and Adrian Lovett were elected as Committee members, as was Greg Dixon, our trip boat Booking Manager.

The new Committee is summarised on the PCAS contacts page.


3 April 2011 – Boat trips start for the new season

Easter is late this year, so we decided to start boat trips on the first Sunday in April instead of waiting until Good Friday. December and January were very cold but Spring has arrived early and boat trips got off to a good start in 2011.

New Horizons spent the winter months at Goole and now has smart new side covers designed for use with the new roof that was fitted the previous year.


22 February 2011 – PCAS wins volunteering award














From left to right: Graham Ramsden (BW), Jon Horsfall (BW), Paul Waddington and Claire McDonald (BW)

Paul Waddington, Chairman of PCAS, was presented with the British Waterways Volunteer Organisations Recognition Award 2010 for the North East. Here is the certificate we received.

See the press release on the BW Waterscape website for details. More pictures, courtesy of BW North. Article in the York Press and another article in the Pocklington Post.


9 January 2011 – The Pocklington Canal in winter
Happy New Year!

Here are some photos showing boats surrounded by thick ice in the Melbourne Arm and the lower part of the canal flooded, as it does in winter. Thanks to Roger Bromley for sharing these photos.













29 December 2010 – New landing stages at No. 7 swing-bridge
After various delays, the first two landing stages have now been installed. One is in Melbourne Arm, a short distance from the bridge. PCAS Secretary Hilary Anguish can be seen inspecting the work on this cold foggy day, with ice on the canal.













The second landing stage is immediately downstream of No. 7 swing-bridge, at Melbourne Arm.














17 November 2010 – PCAS working parties
Following discussions between PCAS Chairman Paul Waddington and British Waterways, working parties could become a familiar feature on the Pocklington Canal again. Health and safety issues has meant that - in recent years - it has been difficult for small groups to meet the requirements to be allowed to work on waterways managed by British Waterways.

BW appreciates that volunteers can play a vital role in tackling work that needs to be done at a time when little funding is available. Providing that health and safety requirements are met, and tasks agreed, the work can be done. Dick Watson has agreed to take on the job of Working Party Organiser for PCAS. Please get in touch with Dick if you would like to help. His phone number is on the PCAS Contacts page.

9 November 2010 – Sandhill Lock interpretation poster




Sandhill Lock is in a derelict condition and work was carried out in 2010 to carry out a detailed study and recording of this Historic Building, before installing timber props to stabilise the structure.

Interpretation leaflets will be available at the lock and here is a poster compiled by British Waterways on behalf of the organisations involved with the project.


13 October 2010 – Grant from Pocklington Town Council
PCAS was presented with a cheque for £100 by the Mayor of the Pocklington Town Council. This money will be used to support the cost of training of additional crew members for New Horizons. Training helps to ensure that the boat is operated as safely as possible. We are very grateful to the Town Council for their support. Photo on Pocklington Town Council website.

Most of our crew have received training on boats operated by the National Community Boats Association. NCBA is based locally at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum at Goole and has additional training centres at Selby and Thorne. PCAS has applied to become members of NCBA, which will provide us with various benefits regarding training and re-validation of certificates.

2 August 2010 – Boat trip to mark Hilda Floyd's 99th birthday

A special boat trip was arranged by by Hilda's friends to celebrate her 99th birthday.
Article in the Pocklington Post.






July 2010 – Landing stages and No.8 swing-bridge – progress at last
Contractors have been appointed and will start the installation of 15 metre landing stages at locks and swing-bridges soon. It is a condition of the LEADER funding that the work is completed promptly. Contractors are also being selected to install the pintle at No.8 swing-bridge, one of the essential tasks before navigation can be extended to Bielby. The locations of the landing stages are to be agreed between British Waterways and PCAS, in consultation with Natural England.

New Horizons news Our trip boat is having another very successful season, with plenty of special trips for groups of up to 12 people. We decided to offer a Saturday trip for individuals and small groups. This was successful and will be repeated in September.

18 July 2010 – Barmby Feast
PCAS members had a busy day at Barmby Feast, a popular event which we have attended for many years.

June 2010 – Survey of Sandhill Lock published
Prior to stabilisation of Sandhill Lock, funded by British Waterways, the structure of the lock was recorded in detail, using laser measurement and extensive photographic records, compiled by contractors Jacobs. The lock is a Listed structure and the work was done in consultation with English Heritage. The funding of the project is described below. A leaflet summarising the survey work will be available soon.

6 May 2010 – Work at Cottingwith Lock nominated for an award
The repair and re-gating of Cottingwith Lock has been nominated for the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s ‘Chairman Awards’. More information

28 April 2010 – PCAS AGM
The AGM was held at the Steer Inn and was well attended, and it was good to see some new faces. Sheila Nix MBE resigned as Secretary and David Tomlinson resigned as Treasurer, but both will continue as Committee members. Bob Ellis and Nick Milsom resigned as Committee members, due to other commitments, but will continue to crew New Horizons.

Gordon Harrower will take over the role as Treasurer. Hilary and Howard Anguish had agreed to join the Committee and Hilary kindly agreed to take on the role of Secretary after being proposed and seconded during the AGM.

The new Committee is summarised on the PCAS contacts page.

25 April 2010 – Northern Canals Association visit to East Cottingwith
NCA held a meeting at the Village Hall at East Cottingwith. Paul Waddington welcomed canal enthusiasts from around the country. Judy Jones, Heritage Advisor for British Waterways gave a talk about Heritage Partnership Agreements, focusing on the recent pilot HPA for the Pocklington Canal. Julie Sharman gave a presentation on Regeneration and Waterways and was optimistic about the future for the Pocklington Canal, despite the current economic situation. Roy Sutton of the Inland Waterways Association discussed the findings of a detailed IWA survey sent to 70 organisations involved in waterway restorations around the country.

Visitors inspected Cottingwith Lock, which had been restored and re-gated last year. Many thanks to PCAS members who took part in this event, especially those involved involved with the catering.

European Funding for Pocklington Canal received by Pocklington Canal Partnership
The Pocklington Canal will shortly benefit from a grant of £45,000. This funding has been awarded as part of the Rural Development Programme for England, which is backed by European Union’s LEADER fund. Locally, it will be delivered through the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways Scheme which is being promoted in East and North Yorkshire.

The award has been made in response to an application from the Pocklington Canal Partnership, which consists of the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, British Waterways, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, English Heritage and the Environment Agency. It will be spent on a £90,000 scheme to provide landing stages at locks and bridges on the navigable section of the Pocklington Canal. At present, there is no provision for boarding boats at these locations and installing landing stages will make it both safer for those using boats, including the crew and passengers of New Horizons, the popular trip boat operated by the canal society.

Because the canal is highly valued for nature conservation and the landing stages are within Sites of Special Scientific Interest, they have been designed to be visually unobtrusive and to have minimal effect on wildlife. A condition of the grant was that that half the expenditure would be incurred by the end of January 2010. This was met by purchasing materials for the construction of the landing stages. Work on construction of the landing stages will start soon.

Information about the Coast, Wolds, Wetlands & Waterways LEADER programme and how to apply can be found at The LEADER programme is being financed by the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development as well as Defra and is being overseen by Yorkshire Forward as part of the Rural Development Programme for England.

April 2010 – Boat trips restarted
A lot of work has been done to get New Horizons shipshape in time for boat trips to start on Good Friday. Many thanks to everyone who has helped since the boat returned to Melbourne. Good Friday was cold and windy, but the rain held off until the trips had ended.

March 2010 – Sandhill Lock
Of the three remaining unrestored locks on the Pocklington Canal, Sandhill Lock is in the poorest condition. In 2009 it was discovered that one of the chamber walls was bulging.

The work is being carried out by British Waterways in consultation with English Heritage, since the lock is a Grade 2 Listed structure. Timber props have been installed to stabilise the structure. More information

The Sandhill Lock Heritage Project has Rural Development Programme for England/LEADER funding.


March 2010 – Moorings available on the Pocklington Canal
British Waterways has two moorings available in the basin at Melbourne Arm (Auction 1510 and 1511. ). A similar mooring has been let recently for £915, slightly above the Guide Price of £904. Further information about the available moorings can be found on the Waterscape website. Update – these moorings have now been leased

March 2010 – Historic film
Old 8 mm Standard 8 cine film dating from 1969/70 has been transferred to DVD by PCAS member Geoff Kelly. The film includes working parties held soon after the formation of PCAS. More volunteers are wearing ties than hard hats! This old film will be shown to members at the PCAS AGM on 28 April. During the past year, Geoff has been capturing video of the canal and our trip boat to help publicise the Society and our activities. Perhaps we could show this at next year's AGM.

March 2010 – PCAS Information Centre

Our Information Centre at Canal Head has been rather full for the past few years. At the end of the 2009 season it was cleared out, redecorated and is now being restocked. There is not much call for video tapes, records and cassettes these days, so we will focus on what we are more likely to be able to sell.

Thanks to everyone who has helped with this long overdue task.

For many years, the Information Centre has been open on during the afternoon on Sundays and Bank Holidays. The popularity of the Canal Head picnic site has grown and we may open at other times during the summer months.




February 2010 – New Horizons has a new roof
The old canvas cover on the PCAS tripboat has been replaced by a new steel roof. This will require less maintenance. The new roof has hatches, which will make it easier and safer for passengers and crew to get on and off the boat. Here are some photos and notes about 'The day they put the lid on', courtesy of PCAS member Dave Wilson who witnessed the job at Goole Boathouse. By the time the work is finished the red 'cratch' will be replace replaced with a glazed panel to allow passengers a better view ahead. Here are some more photos from Dave, showing recent work on the boat and crew training at Thorne.



January 2010 – MBE for Arthur Credland in the New Year's Honours List

Arthur, who is a long-standing member of PCAS, received the MBE for services to maritime history. Arthur is a prolific author, but was probably best known as Keeper of Maritime History at Hull's Maritime Museum. He retired from this post last year. Congratulations!


December 2009 – Heritage Partnership Agreement

This article gives brief details of the HPA drawn up to replace the existing protection of the Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Grade II Listed structures on the canal. This HPA is part of a pilot scheme run by English Heritage in cooperation with British Waterways.


November 2009 – New Horizons
Our trip boat has had its busiest season so far, and donations received will be used to support the work of PCAS.

The boat has now been taken to Goole and will be taken out of the water to clean and paint the hull. The canvas is now in poor condition and will be replaced by a steel roof. This will allow us to make it easier and safer to get on the boat, and will be easier to keep clean.

We plan to resume boat trips at Easter, with short trips on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

October 2009 – No. 8 Swing-bridge
The present bridge, near Bielby, was installed around 1994, replacing an old wooden bridge that was in poor condition. There was no immediate prospect of navigation, so fitting a pintle to allow operation of the bridge was delayed to save money.

It has now been agreed that PCAS and British Waterways will jointly fund construction and fitting of the pintle, which is needed to allow navigation to be extended to Bielby. PCAS received nearly £6000 from the assets of the former Pocklington Canal Boat Club, specifically for this project.

Saturday 12 September – Melbourne Village Hall Anniversary Day
This was a busy event, helped by the good weather and the Tour of Britain Cycle Race, which passed through the village. PCAS had a display in the Village Hall and ran short boat trips on this Saturday, in addition to normal Sunday trips.

British Waterways also had a stand at the event. Judy Jones and Graham Ramsden were there to promote access to the canal for local residents and visitors, and to raise awareness of its heritage value.

Extension of navigation
Following completion of work at Cottingwith Lock, PCAS will be discussing the details of extending navigation to Bielby with British Waterways and Natural England. We will also be discussing provision of landing stages at the locks and swing-bridges.

August 2009

Following the reopening of Cottingwith Lock a few boats have been able to come onto the canal, the first since the end of the 2006 season.

July 2009 – Cottingwith Lock reopened
The lock was reopened to navigation on 16 July, following repairs to the structure and installation of new gates. The Pocklington Canal has been re-connected to the waterways network after more than two years of isolation.

Replica wheel-operated paddlegear was installed, as has been done at other restored locks. This distinctive paddlegear was a characteristic feature of the Pocklington Canal. More details....

July 2009 – Extension of navigation to Bielby

Natural England are prepared to allow extension of navigation to Bielby, subject to monitoring of boat numbers and the effect of navigation on the wildlife of the canal. If necessary, boat movements would be capped.

To extend navigation to Bielby, some dredging is needed in the region of Thornton Lock, the gates at Walbut Lock need to be re-planked, and a pintle must be installed at No. 8 swing-bridge. Funding for the pintle, which is needed to allow the bridge to be opened, has been provided by the former Pocklington Canal Boat Club.

PCAS believes that it will not be necessary to cap boat numbers because the need to navigate the tidal Ouse has always limited the number of visitors and the number of boats that can use the canal is limited by water supply. Boat numbers are capped on other waterways of importance for wildlife, including the Montgomery and Basingstoke canals.

The possibility of extending navigation to Bielby is very encouraging because it will allow boats to pass through two locks that have remained unused since their restoration, many years ago.

June 2009 – Work starts on Cottingwith Lock!

At long last, the repairs and re-gating work started at Cottingwith Lock on 12 June. The lock has been closed for over two years. More information...

June 2009 – Pocklington Canal features in Waterways World

There is a four page article entitled The Pastoral Pocklington in the July issue of Waterways World. It is written by Hugh Potter and contains recent photos taken during his visit to the canal with Judy Jones, the local Heritage Adviser for British Waterways.

This is a very useful article, which will help members and waterway enthusiasts understand more about the heritage value of the canal and how changes in legislation could improve protection yet facilitate future restoration.

The restored but unused locks are mentioned and opportunities for the future are discussed. To quote: "It seems that BW may be now be in support of extending navigation as far as the Bielby Arm."

PCAS 40th Anniversary Dinner


Our 40th Anniversary Dinner was held on 29 May at Allerthorpe Park Golf Club
The event was well attended by PCAS members. Our guest speaker Robin Evans, Chief Executive of British Waterways, congratulated the Society on the past 40 years and made some very encouraging comments about future restoration of the canal. Robin had visited the canal with local BW staff earlier in the day and we are grateful that he and his wife were able to attend our Anniversary Dinner.

The event was attended by no less than five founder members of PCAS. PCAS Secretary Sheila Nix, MBE was made our first Honorary Vice President, to mark her contribution to the Society over the past forty years. She was presented with a bouquet of flowers by our Treasurer – David Tomlinson – who is also a founder member. Photos of the event

May 2009 – Invertebrate life beneath the waves - the Pocklington Canal

PCAS members Geoff and Roma Oxford have been studying the animals that live on the canal bed for many years. Last May, some PCAS members spent a day collecting samples and took them to Geoff's labs at the University of York for a closer look. We enjoyed the day so much that Geoff was invited to give a talk at one of the Friday evening IWA meetings at Cottingham.

You may have seen Geoff and Roma in the BBC programme Hands on Nature featuring the Pocklington Canal.

Geoff and Roma arrived with samples collected from above and below Coates Lock, and demonstrated that differences in the amount of dissolved oxygen affects the range of species that can be found in the canal. Geoff gave us an interesting illustrated talk, showing many of the different animals that can be found and seen without the need for a microscope. A sample from the canal or a garden pond will even provide a fascinating display on a windowsill.

If any other members would like to share their interest or hobby please get in touch with any Committee Member.

May 2009 – Extension of navigation to Bielby
Natural England have informed PCAS that they will consider an application to extend navigation to Bielby. The canal was reopened to Melbourne Arm in 1987 and this has remained the head of navigation due to silation near the Thornton feeder and concerns about the impact of boating on the wildlife, especially the aquatic plants, in this Site of Special Scientific Interest. There is no evidence that the current use of the navigable part of the canal (between Melbourne and East Cottingwith) is being damaged by use of boats, so hopefully the same will apply when navigation is extended.

April 2009 – Annual General Meeting

The 40th AGM was held on 29 April. The Officers were re-elected and an election was held to vote for Committee Members. Following the procedure laid down in the PCAS Constitution, Carol Booth, Jenny Brett, Roger Bromley and Greg Dixon will serve for two years. Bob Ellis, Gordon Harrower, Nick Milsom and Dick Watson were elected for one year. Vic Randerson continues on the Committee for the second year of his term and Paul Graham decided not to stand for re-election. We are very grateful for his help to the Society over a period of many years.

This is the first time that all the places on the PCAS Committee have been taken for some time and all the new members, which we wecome to the Committee, are involved with crewing our trip boat, New Horizons.

The forthcoming repairs to Cottingwith Lock and the prospect of extending navigation to Bielby are providing considerable encouragement to us to acheive further restoration of the canal.

April 2009 – Update from British Waterways

Here is a summary of recent and forthcoming works on the canal, kindly provided by British Waterways. It mentions the repairs to Cottingwith Lock, which should start in May.

April 2009 – PCAS presentation for the Inland Waterways Association

PCAS has strong connections with the local IWA branch, with members on the Committee and regular supporters of monthly meetings and other social events. These provide a good opportunity to keep IWA members up to date with what is happening on the Pocklington Canal.

Two presentations were made during the April meeting, one covering the 40 year history of PCAS and the other about boat trips and the history and building of our trip boat New Horizons. The event was well attended and we will be welcoming IWA members aboard the trip boat for a tour of inspection on 19 June.

March 2009 – Cottingwith Lock to reopen this year

Athough new gates for Cottingwith Lock were made by British Waterways over a year ago, fitting was delayed because work on other waterways in the Yorkshire region took priority for funding. BW plan to start work on the lock early in May 2009 if the ground conditions permit. (The lock is in an area that floods regularly in the winter months.) In addition to fitting the new gates, some repairs will be done on the brickwork.

This is very welcome news, especially for those who have boats moored in the Melbourne Arm of the canal.

February 2009 – PCAS event at East Cottingwith Village Hall

The first event to mark the 40th anniversary of PCAS was a presentation at East Cottingwith, which focused on what we have done and achieved over the years, including restoration projects and the more recent success of our trip boat.

The event was very well attended and we thank the Village Hall Committee for the opportunity to hold our presentation. Thanks too to everyone who came along.

March 2009 – Donation from the Round Table

The Pocklington and Market Weighton Round Table has donated £500 to PCAS specifically for the running of New Horizons, our trip boat. This is the second time the local Round Table has made a generous donation to the Society, from the proceeds of the popular 'Pocktoberfest' beer festivals held in Pocklington.

Members of the Round Table have been invited to visit the canal and have a boat trip.

December 2008 - Cottingwith Lock

It is approaching two years since Cottingwith Lock became unusable. New gates have been made by British Waterways but these have not been fitted because funds are not available. PCAS is concerned that the canal remains isolated from other waterways, and without any boats visiting the canal, weed is making it difficult to operate our tripboat.

PCAS contacted David Davis MP, a patron of the Society, about our concerns. David wrote to DEFRA, which provides funding for British Waterways, and received a prompt reply indicating that British Waterways do plan to fit the gates in the new financial year, subject to weather and available finances. Installation of the gates was planned for last year but the money had to be diverted to do essential work on commercial waterways in the region, which take priority over 'Remainder Waterways' such as the Pocklington Canal. Everyone with an interest in our inland waterways knows about British Waterways' current financial problems and hopefully DEFRA will provide sufficient funds to allow BW to get Cottingwith Lock back in action in our 40th anniversary year.


October 2008 - Can you help with our 40th anniversary events?

Our membership continues to grow and the continued success of our tripboat New Horizons is an important factor in achieving this. Between Easter and the end of October we had 150 boat trips and carried 900 passengers.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of PCAS and the Society is planning to celebrate this with a range of outdoor and indoor activities, and plenty of publicity. Please get in touch with any Committee member if would like to help.

Unfortunately, the new lock gates for Cottingwith Lock are still awaiting installation because of British Waterways' well-known shortage of funds. PCAS is currently investigating alternative ways of getting the gates installed and carrying out repairs to the lock chamber.

Members should have received their November issue of Double Nine. If not, please contact the Membership Secretary.

September 2008 – Draft Pocklington Canal Heritage Partnership Agreement

It is well known that the Pocklington Canal is important for wildlife, but with eight Grade II listed locks and four road bridges that are Scheduled Ancient Monumuments, we should not overlook the heritage value of the canal.

In order to improve management of heritage structures, including repair and maintenance, HPAs are being drawn up as part of the reform of heritage protection in England. The Pocklington Canal has been chosen as one of the pilot schemes and British Waterways have compiled a draft HPA. PCAS has been given the opportunity to provide additional information and comment on the draft. This is an excellent opportunity to extend protection of the heritage assets of the canal, which has seen little change since it was built nearly 200 years ago.

We will point out to BW that the full heritage value of the canal can only be realised when it has been fully restored and navigable to Canal Head!


August 2008 – New Horizons news

New Horizons is having a great season, despite a shaky start and a few problems.

Easter was early this year and the weather was poor. By April the weather had improved and most Sundays have seen plenty of visitors and it's good to see familiar faces. Now that word is getting round about our trip boat, Greg is receiving frequent calls from people who are interested in arranging special boat trips for parties.

Now that no boats are able to come onto the canal because Cottingwith Lock is out of action, weed is an even bigger problem and we have had problems with trees falling across the canal this year.

Despite these problems, New Horizons has already seen more use this year than any year since we started running trips in 2004, and it's only August.

July 2008 - IWAC report: Balancing the needs of navigation and aquatic wildlife

Although the effect of boats on aquatic plants is considered in several scientific research articles, this report should promote better understanding of why it is not necessary to exclude boats from restored canals to maintain their value as havens for wildlife. IWAC (the Inland Waterways Advisory Council) advises the Government on management of our waterways, so this is an important report. The full report is available online and not surprisingly the Pocklington Canal is mentioned several times.

Several reports by IWAAC (the predecessor of IWAC) have considered which canal restoration projects should be given priority, and nature conservation has been regarded as an important issue in the case of the Pocklington Canal. Hopefully it will be seen that the small number of boats likely to use the canal does not pose a threat and can make a positive contribution by helping prevent the canal becoming overgrown with vegetation.


May 2008 – Pocklington Canal on Countryfile
John Craven has chosen the Pocklington Canal as BEST FOR WILDLIFE in his Best British Canals.
Countryfile website
Article in THE PRESS

Winter floods

Although the floods in June were unexpected, the River Derwent and lower end of the Pocklington Canal frequently flood during the winter months.

PCAS member Owen Morgan has sent this picture of Hagg Bridge during the floods.

November 2007 – Thornton Lock

Good progress is being made with the refurbishment of Thornton Lock by British Waterways. The main task has been re-planking of the gates, which were leaking badly. Hopefully this will allow us to take New Horizons, the PCAS trip boat, through the lock in 2008.

Lock gates for Cottingwith Lock are being made at British Waterways' workshops at Stanley Ferry, though when they will be installed (the more expensive part of the job) is still uncertain. For the time being, Pocklington Canal will remain as the canal with only five boats (plus the odd canoe)!


August 2007 – Cottingwith and Thornton Locks

Apologies for not providing an update on the canal closure. PCAS has not been provided with any definite information about replacement of the gates at Cottingwith Lock. It's not just a case of purchasing gates since there are access problems. The only definite information was that PCAS had offered £10,000 towards the new gates and we would like to reinstate traditional wheel-operated paddlegear on the bottom gates, similar to that installed at other restored locks. The most recent information from British Waterways is that gates are to be ordered soon and it is planned to install them in the new financial year.

Thornton Lock was restored under a Manpower Services Commission training scheme in the late 80s and new gates were installed in 1990. Looking back at an old copy of Double Nine, PCAS donated £5000, which was most of the cost! It has never been possible to use the lock because of the amount of silt in a short stretch of canal below the feeder between Thornton Lock and Church Bridge. BW hope to remove these gates for re-planking 'soon', though there are access problems here too. When the gates have been reinstated it should be possible to take our trip boat through the lock because the shallow section was dredged recently.

June/July 2007 – Flooding

The heavy rain that caused havoc in Hull and Doncaster also affected Pocklington Canal. It is common for the Cottingwith end of the canal to disappear under water when the Derwent floods, but the heavy rainfall resulted in a high water level at Melbourne. It was necessary to cancel or postpone boat trips for safety reasons.

Some trees collapsed, some died as a result of the floods and land has been damaged as a result of being under water for an extended period.

April 2007 – Replacement of gates at Cottingwith Lock

British Waterways plan to replace the gates at Cottingwith Lock in August or September. PCAS will make a contribution to the cost of the work, which may cost up to £70,000. The existing gates were installed in 1987. Stop planks will be installed in early May and their installation was delayed to allow passage of boats. Some boats have temporarily moved from the Melbourne Arm to avoid being trapped on the canal until the lock is reopened.


April 2007 – New Horizons ready for another successful season

British Waterways assisted passage of New Horizons to make a return journey to Goole for overdue winter maintenance. She was taken out of the water to allow cleaning and painting of the hull, which is necessary every two years. Painting and other maintenance was carried out at the same time and New Horizons returned to Pocklington Canal in time for the first boat trips – on Good Friday.

Please contact Greg Dixon, our Bookings Manager, if you are interested in arranging a boat trip for a group of up to 12. Boat trips and bookings


March 2007 – Dredging completed below Thornton Lock

A short length of heavily silted canal has been dredged, thanks to a generous grant of £5000 to PCAS from IWA (The Inland Waterways Association). The work was carried out by British Waterways' contractors and was necessary because of the accumulated silt brought in by the canal feeder between Thornton Lock and Church Bridge.

British Waterways had planned to do some repairs on Thornton Lock, which was restored in 1990 but has remained unused since because of the need for dredging. The failure of the lock gates at Cottingwith Lock means that the work will be postponed until next year.


March 2007 – Canal to be closed because of failure of gate at Cottingwith Lock

On 12 March, British Waterways closed Cottingwith Lock because the top of the heel post of the offside bottom gate had rotted away. The planking on the top gates is also leaking and BW intend to put in stop planks to ensure that the level of water above the lock is maintained. BW will assist passage of boats through the lock until the stop planks have been installed. PCAS is in discussion with BW to discuss funding and installation of new gates. More information


February 2007 – Social event at Wheldrake

PCAS held a social event at Wheldrake Village Hall on Friday 23 February. The presentation about the Pocklington Canal and the Canal Society included a viewing of old cine film of canal restoration, dating from the late 60s and early 70s. Not a hard hat or Risk Assessment in sight – just locals working hard and enjoying themselves.

It is always difficult to predict how many will come to events, so we were delighted that the hall was well filled, with over 40 guests plus a good turnout of Society members. We now have some new members, all from Wheldrake and we thank everyone who joined us for the evening. Special thanks to Carol Booth, of Wheldrake, who organised the event.


July 2006 – Pocklington Canal among BW's top ten wildlife sites

The Pocklington Canal has been named by British Waterways as one of the top ten places to spot wildlife. A guide to the ten sites is available from BW offices. Read more...

July 2006 – Boat trips on New Horizons

RDS teamNeal Topham's team from the Rural Development Service in Leeds spent a day on New Horizons. A good day was had by all and Andrea has apologised for her poor steering.

In October, RDS will become part of Natural England, as will English Nature.

Here is the RDS team, back at Melbourne Arm.

Members of the Yorkshire branch of The British Dragonfly Society met with British Waterways and visited the Pocklington Canal. It was a bright sunny day and the trip boat provided a close up view of plenty of species including the red-eyed damselfly, for which the canal is an important local habitat.

New Horizons is having a remarkably successful season, with pleny of local interest in scheduled Sunday boat trips. Most of our recent new members have joined after a boat trip.

Charity Shop and fundraising events

charityshopThanks to the generosity of our supporters we have been accumulating donated items faster than we could sell them. Not any more! Monica Isle came to the rescue by running a very successful Charity Shop in Pocklington, for a whole week in July. Since then, we have had two special sales at Canal Head and a Charity Stall in Pocklington, on market day. All this effort has paid off and has raised a lot of money for PCAS. We are grateful for everyone's help, including Barkers Dairy for providing a venue for the Charity Shop. Thanks also to everyone who donated things for us to sell.

This photo shows Carol Booth with her assistants Rosie, Jim & Duck at the Charity Shop.



May/June 2006 – Wild Things Around The Ings

English Nature held a month of events in and around the Lower Derwent Valley National Nature Reserve. PCAS was invited to join in and our contribution started with a pleasant evening Canal Walk from Canal Head to Sandhill Lock. Then next event on the Canal was Sunday boat trips, when we had to tell around 35 people all wanted to come on board at the same time. By running short trips, no-one had to wait too long. The final PCAS event was a display on the history of the Pocklington Canal in the English Nature marquee at North Duffield Carrs. Wild Things Around The Ings will be the last major local event before English Nature becomes part of Natural England.




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