Digging deep on the Pocklington
THE LAUNCH OF a canal dredging contract might be expected to have boaters breathing a sigh of relief and saying “about time too”. But in the case of the work just begun on the Pocklington Canal, the main beneficiaries will be the aquatic plants, dragonflies and waterfowl responsible for the canal’s Site of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSI) status.
The Canal & River Trust’s dredging contractors Land & Water Services have begun removing 3,000 tonnes of silt from the currently unnavigable length between Coates Bridge and the Bielby Arm, clearing the centre of the channel and controlling the growth of reeds which are beginning to dominate other rarer plants. The work needs to be completed during the winter, before the start of the nesting season.
The programme, funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to preserve the canal’s historic structures and nature habitats, is expected to be followed by more dredging on the Thornton to Walbut and Top Lock to Silburn Lock lengths.
Although aimed at nature conservation the work will benefit boaters in due course, with the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society’s current Appeal having already passed the half-way point towards its £250,000 target to extend navigation from Melbourne to Bielby.