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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 the Yorkshire Derwent 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 Bielby 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 to the preservation work already undertaken by the canal society.

Pocklington Canal Amenity Society, with support from Canal & River Trust (previously British Waterways) and local authorities, has restored the western two thirds of the Canal, which is currently officially open to navigation as far as Bielby. Coates Lock was completed and the gates fitted in September 2000.  This leaves 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 in the 1990s and bottom gates were installed in late 2001.

The two-mile section between Bielby and Melbourne was reopened in 2018.  A contribution of £106,400 by IWA from the Tony Harrison bequest made it possible to achieve the £250,000 needed to fund the restoration.  A number of WRG Canal Camps and joint PCAS/WRG working parties helped with the work.

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.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Local activities