A £500,000 overhaul of Huddersfield’s waterways has begun.
Many of the locks on the 20-mile-long Huddersfield narrow canal were last changed over 20 years ago.
Now new lock gates have been made and installation work has kicked off on the canal at Diggle on the other side of the Standedge Tunnel.
Lock 1 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lock 32 in Diggle and Lock 20 near Greenfield will all be revamped by the end of this year.
Locks 19, 34 and 37 will be done in early 2015.
The new lock gates have been hand crafted from oak by carpenters at the Trust’s specialist workshop at Stanley Ferry in Wakefield.
A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of 25-30 years.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: “Over the next few months our engineers and heritage experts will be giving this iconic canal the painstaking care and attention it deserves.
“At over 200 years old these essential works will help ensure that we can continue to provide special spaces for everyone to enjoy for many years to come.
“Huddersfield’s waterways are used by thousands of people every day and we’re doing everything we can to preserve them.
“We have a big job but the spirit volunteers showed in restoring this canal to its former glory show that they can have a long future and I’d encourage members of the public to explore what opportunities there are locally to help support our maintenance work.”
Teams of experts will be working on around 100 locks across the country, replacing 141 lock gates for the benefit of the 33,000 boats and 10 million towpath visitors that visit them each year.
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, added: “The Canal and River Trust cares for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to 200 years ago.
“Keeping them open and safe requires a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship and involves a wide range of experts, from civil engineers and hydrologists to heritage experts and ecologists.
“This winter we are spending £45 million on essential repairs and restorations and routine maintenance to our canals and rivers.
“By showcasing this work to the public we can give them a glimpse of the craftsmanship of the waterways’ original 18th Century design and the scale of the work we do to care for it.
“We hope this will inspire more people to get involved to enjoy and help support their local canal or river navigation.”
Members of the public who want to get a behind the scenes look at this restoration work can attend a special public open day on February 8 at Lock 5 on the Sheffield & Tinsley Navigation.
Click here for more details.