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Work begins on landmark Pocklington canal dredging project

 Pocklington Canal

3:21pm 14th November 2017

This week, work begins on a landmark dredging project to help transform East Yorkshire’s Pocklington

This is the first time in over a century that two sections (totalling just under a mile) of the 9-mile canal
are being dredged.


Nature has taken over on this stretch

 Pocklington Canal


This £152,000 project aims to finish just before Christmas and is led by the Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for the Pocklington Canal as part of its 2,000-mile network of historic waterways.

A special amphibious digger (pictured above) will remove approximately 8,000 tonnes of nutrient-rich silt (equivalent to the weight of 2,285 elephants) that will be re-distributed to a nearby arable farm.

Reusing the silt locally is beneficial to the environment as it avoids lorries taking the silt away to landfill. By clearing silt and reeds from the centre of the canal to create an open channel, the charity will ensure that rare aquatic plants and wildlife living on and along the canal continue to thrive.

Unlike many of the Canal & River Trust’s other dredging projects, which primarily help to keep the network of canals open to boats, the work on the Pocklington Canal is taking place in the non-navigable upper reaches of the canal.

The main focus is to help wildlife, while also contributing to the overall vision to make more of the canal navigable to canoeists and boaters.

The Pocklington Canal, which celebrates its bicentenary next year, is one of the UK’s best canals for wildlife, with the majority of its length protected through three Site(s) of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), due to the variety of important aquatic plants that live below and above the water surface – soft hornwort, flat-stalked pondweed, narrow-leaved water-plantain, flowering-rush, fan-leaved water-crowfoot, flowering rush and arrowhead.

However, this diversity of aquatic plants has been in decline over the years, partly due to dominance of common reed and over shading by trees.

Dredging will create areas of open water, helping to reverse this decline and in turn see an increase in other wildlife such as dragonflies.

 Pocklington Canal

The Pocklington Canal dredging works is funded through the Canal & River Trust’s Gem in the Landscape project - a three-year programme of activity supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Lizzie Dealey, Gem in the Landscape project officer at Canal & River Trust said:

“Largely unchanged since it opened in 1818, Pocklington Canal is a real hidden gem.

This dredging project is a pivotal moment in our three-year vision to help transform this historically and environmentally important waterway through wildlife habitat improvements, heritage restoration activities and family-friendly events leading up to and during the waterway’s bicentenary next year.

Just 9 miles from York it’s a great place to relax, and unwind.

Being by the water really helps to contribute to our sense of wellbeing, helping to create healthier and happier communities – and once this project is finished, we’ll hopefully have even happier wildlife!”

For information about the Gem in the Landscape project, visit


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