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Pocklington Canal

The Pocklington Canal runs from Cottingwith Junction on the River Derwent (Yorkshire) towards its terminus at Canal Head, near Pocklington.

Things to do nearby

Facts & Stats

9.5 miles


The length of the Pocklington Canal. 2.5 miles is currently under restoration.

9 locks

+ Swing bridges

Not all locks are restored.


Year opened

The canal was opened to cater mainly for agricultural traffic.

From Yorkshire to Pocklington

The canal is restored and re-opened to Bielby, with the remainder of the canal, towards Canal Head, under restoration.

There is a very short arm (with moorings) into the village of Melbourne, and there was a short arm to Bealby just above Swing Bridge No 8.

The Pocklington Canal was opened in 1818, catering mainly for agricultural traffic. Following a proposal in 1959 to use the canal course as a dump for sludge from a water treatment works, the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society was formed and the canal was saved. Part of the canal is now restored; the remainder is progressing slowly as the area has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), largely in fact due to the preservation work already undertaken by the canal society.

Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, with support from BW and local authorities, has restored the western two thirds of the Canal, which is currently officially open to navigation as far as Melbourne. Thornton and Walbut Locks have been fully restored for some years, as has the swing bridge at Bielby. Coates Lock was completed and the gates fitted in September 2000.  Only minor dredging of the channel and installation of the pintle at Bielby are required to enable boats to reach Coates Lock, leaving just three locks to be restored. At Top Lock, adjacent to the popular Picnic Site at Canal Head, the chamber was restored and top gates fitted several years ago and bottom gates were installed in late 2001.

Pocklington Canal Restoration

Restoration of Thornton and Walbut Locks, the swing bridge at Bielby and Coates Lock were restored by 2000.

At Top Lock, adjacent to the popular picnic site at Canal Head, the chamber was restored in the late 1980s and top gates fitted, and bottom gates were installed in late 2001. We helped to fund dredging to Thornton Lock in 2007 to enable it to be brought back into use.

The towpath between Giles Lock and Sandhill Lock was in poor condition but during an IWA Canal Camp in 2014 funded by PCAS, volunteers removed protruding tree roots and resurfaced the towpath.

The two-mile section between Bielby and Melbourne was reopened in 2018.  A very generous contribution of £106,400 from the IWA Tony Harrison bequest made it possible to achieve the £250,000 needed to fund the restoration of the two additional miles of canal between Melbourne and Bielby.  A number of IWA work camps and joint PCAS/IWA working parties have helped restore several of the locks and carry out scrub-bashing along this stretch.

Waterway notes

Maximum boat sizes

  • Length: 57′ 0″ (17.37 metres) – Cottingwith Lock
  • Beam: 14′ 3″ (4.34 metres) – Bridge No 1 Swing Bridge
  • Height: 9′ 0″ (2.74 metres) – Baldwins Bridge
  • Draught: 4′ 4″ (1.32 metres) – cill of Cottingwith Lock

Navigation authority

Canal & River Trust

Useful Info

A handcuff key is required to operate all the swing bridges on the Canal.

Local activities