- Hits: 1436
The Pocklington Canal is a broad canal which runs for 9.5 miles (15.2km) through nine locks from the Canal Head near Pocklington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, to the River Derwent which it joins near East Cottingwith.
Most of it lies within a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The first proposals to build a canal linking the Humber Estuary date back as far as 1765. None of these were successful until 1812 when the Earl Fitzwilliam employed George Leather Junior to survey a proposed route. George Leather found that the initially proposed route was problematic but proposed an alternative route which was the one the canal eventually followed.
The Pocklington Canal company was formed in 1814 and the canal gained its Act of parliament in 1815.
Work started straight away and the canal was completed in 1818 at a cost of £32,695, a rare case of a canal not overrunning its cost estimate.
The canal was not particularly successful with only a few small dividends being paid before the canal was sold to the York and North Midland Railway. The railway had an obligation to keep the canal open but in order to minimise costs little more than token maintenance was carried out.
When the York and North Midland railway was taken over by the North Eastern Railway the new owners of the canal followed a similar policy. That said trade on the canal continued until 1932 and the canal remained passable for a further two years.
When the railways were nationalised the largely derelict (although not abandoned) canal became the responsibility of the British Transport Commission and latter British Waterways.
In the 1960s consideration was given to the possibility of restoring the canal, following a 1959 proposal to fill the canal with sludge from a water treatment plant, and in 1969 the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society was formed.
Restoration began in 1971 with the repair of the entrance lock near East Cottingwith. Restoration is still ongoing and about half the canal has currently been restored. The section from the River Derwent to the Melbourne Arm is navigable, and three of the remaining six locks have been renovated.
Three sections of the canal, covering most of its route, have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and consequently, all restoration and activity has to be by agreement between British Waterways and English Nature.