Friday, 30 December 2011

Images of - North Yorkshire Waterways

North Yorkshire Waterways guide  -  available from
The rivers Ouse, Ure, Foss and Derwent, and the Ripon and Pocklington canals.
There is a wide variety of navigable waterways in North Yorkshire, and the same can be said of the locations reached thereby.  They are well worth cruising and visiting for their wealth of wildlife, countryside and history.
These waters are little cruised by visiting boats, but the attractions of York and Ripon should not be missed. Public transport is easily available for visits further afield.
Further downstream on the River Ouse are the River Derwent and the Pocklington Canal  -  both are waterways needing more visiting boats.
The following pictures were taken in 2011, on a group cruise, led by Richlow's narrowboat Madeley Wood.  Richlow guides  -  Written by People Who Go There!

Selby Lock, with boats waiting to descend to the tidal River Ouse. The lock-keeper decides when locking takes place, depending on the time of the tides, and the destinations required  -  upstream on the Ouse to York, and the Ripon Canal  -  downstream to the River Derwent and the Pocklington Canal.

Exiting Selby Lock, and turning downstream towards the River Derwent.
 At the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Derwent is Barmby Barrage, which controls the levels of fresh water in the Derwent, and prevents salination of those waters by the Ouse tides.
Approaching the Barrage lock, for access to the River Derwent.

On the River Derwent, the Barmby Barrage pontoon moorings.

If you hear that the River Derwent has an over-hanging trees problem, then rest assured.  The trees were cut back in 2011.

River Derwent  -  Sutton Lock.

River Derwent.  Head of navigation at Stamford Bridge.

Pocklington Canal.  An example of its distinctive paddle-gear.

The Pocklington is a quiet rural canal, in sharp contrast to the rivers of the region.

The Pocklington provides surroundings more familiar to those used to the main canal network.

Pocklington Canal  -  head of navigation.

Back to the River Ouse.  Upstream from Selby Lock is Naburn.
On the left is the weir which prevents the tide from progressing further upstream.  Naburn Lock is on the right.

The home of the Archbishop of York, alongside the River Ouse.

York is the highlight of cruising the River Ouse.  This historic city needs a number of days exploration.

Ripon Canal.  After the rivers, the canal is a quiet haven.

Approaching the basin at the head of the canal.  The small city of Ripon is a lovely place to explore.

These pictures are only a brief depiction of North Yorkshire's waterways, but they do give an indication of the types and sizes of the rivers and canals in this north-eastern corner of the network.  Yes, boating here need planning, but with the help of Richlow's North Yorkshire Waterways guide you will find there is much to see and the challenge is worthwhile.
Richlow guides  -  Written by People Who Go There!


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Updates - December 2011

The South Pennine Ring  -  Part 2 of 2
Map 16, and text on pages 28 and 30.  Sellers Tunnel.
While the canal was derelict most of its route between Longroyd Bridge 25 and Queen Street was filled in.  The site was used industrially and several buildings were built on the line of the canal. As a result the restored canal was built at a lower level in a tunnel, and locks 3E and 2E were moved.  Now the surface site is being redeveloped, the tunnel roof is being removed, the locks resited, and the water level raised.
This will make the route more attractive to boaters, and re-open the towpath as a through route.  These major works on still on-going.  When they are complete we will, of course, update the guide-book, but in the meantime we took the following photographs on 27 December - but it is a site closed to the public so we couldn't get as near as we would have liked. And being a Bank Holiday there was no one to discuss things with, which the civil-engineering half of Richlow likes to do.

The roof of Sellers Tunnel removed, just beyond the excavators.

From above what was the "new" lock 3E looking east.  The gates have been removed from the lock, but the tail bridge is still in place.  Beyond, the roof of the tunnel has been removed, and a new waling can be seen on the pile tops which previously formed the tunnel walls.

An emergency access point in Sellers Tunnel - which is actually at the site of the original lock 3E, just upstream (west) of Chapel Hill Bridge.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Updates - December 2011

Chesterfield Canal
Map 11.  Staveley.  The canal now has water in it from Chesterfield to the new Staveley Basin. It will take until approximately the middle of January 2012 to fill the basin.  Meanwhile the towpath remains officially closed in the area  -  however, walkers and cyclists have continued to use it.  Those doing so should note that in the vicinity of Hall Lane Bridge (12) the path is very muddy across its entire width, and for a considerable distance.  This is a result of the heavy machinery working in the area.

If you wish to see the new basin, there is a good view from Hall Lane, Staveley (down the hill from the Library). 

The whole project is another success for the Chesterfield Canal Partnership  -  and the gap between the two restored sections is reduced yet again.

The new basin at Staveley beginning to fill.  The water is still shallow, but it shows what the Chesterfield Canal's latest feature will look like.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Updates - December 2012

North Yorkshire Waterways

Page 7. Locks - Maximum Craft Sizes. Experience shows that narrowboats 60ft long can pass through all the locks in this guide (sometimes diagonally).
Also wide-beam (14ft) craft up to 57ft, but bear in mind the following - River Derwent, Sutton Lock - 58ft x 14ft but obstructed by a ladder near bottom end, so width at that point is about 12ft 6ins. Guillotine-gate air draught approx 10ft 6ins.

Licences. A BW Rivers Licence covers the Ouse and Ure from Goole to Ripon. With a Rivers Licence boaters can transfer between the Trent and Ouse, via the canals, provided the transit takes no longer than 72 hours.

Page 9. Holiday Boat and Narrowboat Hire. Add, Shire Cruisers (Sowerby Br) 01422 832712.

Page 10. River Derwent Distance Table - Sutton Lock added. From Barmby Barrage 15.5 miles. From Cottingwith Junction 4 miles. From Stamford Bridge 10.5 miles.
Page 12. Nav Notes. Head of Navigation Plaque. Ripon Canal Basin, Wharf Services Ripon, 01765 609777 £9.95 in 2011.

Page 16. Nav Notes. The River Nidd joins the navigation from the south at Nun Monkton. There are moorings here, but they are bows into the bank in front of the Alice Hawthorn pub sign (see picture).

Linton Lock - the bottom paddle gear is NOT hydraulic, although signed by Adams Hydraulics Ltd. It can be heavy to work, and needs many turns to operate.

General Text - Linton Lock cottage. This is a licensed cafe with tables outside in good weather. 2011-07-0173.

Page 26. Nav notes. Cawood Swing Bridge - take care - motor cruisers may be milling about waiting for a delayed bridge-swing to open (not necessary for narrowboats).

Page 28. Nav notes. The river passes under two swing-bridges which open for large craft. Take care - be aware, cruisers may be milling about, waiting for a delayed bridge-swing to open (not necessary for narrowboats). Boaters should take the eastern span, but beware of the strong flows from the east.
Commercial barges coming up from the Humber are rare at Selby but they still do so. It is important to note that they are required to pass stern-first, facing the current, through the Selby swing-bridges. If following one, be warned, it will take up the whole of the river when turning to do so. Consider turning also, to stem the tide, until the barge is once again underway.

Page 38. Nav notes. Particularly in the summer, weed is a general problem if the weed-cutter boat has not been operated. The weed is less between Gardham Lock and Melbourne, as the trip-boat operates there. For the same reason, that stretch has landings at the swing-bridges. Both locks now have landings above and below.
Head of Navigation Plaque - from trip-boat crew, or Rose Cottage opposite the pub in Melbourne. £8.50.

Page 40. Canal Head. The PCAS information centre is open Sundays and Bank Holidays during the summer.

Page 42. Nav notes. The only moorings on this section are 40ft on the east bank above Sutton Bridge for Elsan disposal (BW key) and water. If no water flows, turn on the stop-tap.

Images of - the Chesterfield Canal

Chesterfield Canal guide  -  available from
"Written by People Who Go There"
One of England's most pleasant waterways.  Its 46-mile course passes through quiet and unspoilt scenery, yet it remains easily accessible.  Land-based visitors have the benefit of the towpath, sign-posted as the Cuckoo Way, a reference to the nickname given to the uniquely-styled working boats of the canal.
Access for boaters is via the River Trent or a number of slip-ways, and hire-craft are also available.  In addition there are two trip-boats operating on the canal.
Only eight miles await restoration, the planning of which is actively promoted by the Chesterfield Canal Trust.  Examples of what has already been achieved are the beautiful and historic Thorpe and Turnerwood flights of locks, restored in 2003.
Richlow's Madeley Wood in the entrance lock at West Stockwith  - locking up into the canal's basin.  The warehouse in the background is 18th century and houses the lock-keeper's office.

Stockwith Basin.  The entrance to the Chesterfield Canal is through the bridge in the centre background.

The first five locks are wide, up to Retford. The reason is that when the canal was built in the 1770's Retford wanted the waterway to be capable of bringing large Trent craft up to the town.

A view from the portal of Drakeholes Tunnel, showing the countryside typical of the eastern end of the Chesterfield Canal.

Hayton, typical of the small villages skirted by the Chesterfield Canal.

Eventually the canal has to climb the flank of the limestone ridge which it must cross to reach Chesterfield.  These locks at Shireoaks are the last before the steep climb begins to the summit level.

The culmination of the climb to the summit are the seven locks of the Turnerwood flight, and the fifteen locks of the historic Thorpe flight  - which includes two double staircase sets, and two treble staircases.  They are of the pioneering early 1770's era of canals in this country, and were designed by the great engineer James Brindley.  Their sympathetic restoration, completed in 2003, was a major addition to the canal network.

The by-washes of the Thorpe flight are unchanged since they were created, and are thought to now be unique.  They are unlined, and instead use the natural clay of the area.

Visitor moorings on the summit level, at Pennyholme.  A feeder from the reservoirs provides a turning point.

Beyond the still-to-be-restored Norwood Tunnel - the Chesterfield Canal Trust is restoring the waterway at the Chesterfield end.  This is the new Staveley Town Basin on 1st July 2012, during its opening festival - this a new feature, not a restoration.  In the foreground is one of the Trust's tripboats, Hugh Henshall. The narrowboat in the background is Richlow's flagship Madeley Wood.

And all of the above is accessible for walkers by using the Cuckoo Way towpath  -  as here on the Turnerwood lock flight.

And access for boaters?  Yes, it is via the River Trent  -  but give it a try  -  many boats do, and are rewarded by the delights of the Chesterfield Canal.

Richlow's guide to the Chesterfield Canal, and our Narrowboat on the Trent, are both available via our website  -  post free. Go on.  At least find out what's involved by visiting