I’ve lived on a boat for 12 years but have never actually been inside a drained lock so I was really excited about this! On Sunday 13th January The Canal and River Trust held an open day so that anyone can go along and see the current work taking place on the Marsworth flight.

The Marsworth flight is a succession of seven locks near Tring in Hertfordshire. It takes the Grand Union Canal up to what is known as the Tring Summit Level. The adjacent reservoirs were built to feed the canal and at the height of the holiday boating season around four million gallons of water are pumped into the canal each day. The reservoirs are also a popular fishery and a picturesque haven for wildlife popular with dog walkers, families and photographers.

The Trust are replacing the lock gates at lock 43 so the lock had been drained and scaffolding was erected in the lock. We were guided up the towpath from Marsworth by the friendly and knowledgeable Dick Pilkinton, who stopped at regular intervals to explain the reservoirs and associated facts and history.

Visitors were then invited down scaffolding steps to stand on the scaffolding boards in the bottom of the lock. Canal and River Trust experts were on hand to give us a brief explanation of how a lock works and what the works entailed. Having been through this lock many times on our boat it was exciting for our whole family to stand at the bottom and discover a different view.

My young daughters were then ready to head home to warm up with hot chocolate, but for other visitors the open day also included tours of Tringford Pumping Station, the reservoirs and a ‘Roostwatch’. Hammer & Tongs at Bulbourne also opened their workshop to demonstrate blacksmithing.

To find an open day near you visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/winter-stoppages

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