The Ripon Canal
The Ripon Canal runs from Oxclose Lock, where it joins the river Ure, and then on to Ripon. It was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1767 and opened in 1773. The Ripon Canal was built to connect Ripon with York and the Humber Estuary via the rivers Ure and Ouse. The Canal was a moderate success, but sold to the Leeds and Thirsk Railway Company in 1847, which was then absorbed into the North Eastern Railway in 1854. The Ripon canal was then neglected and by 1892 was effectively disused. The first attempt to abandon the waterway was made by the North Eastern Railway in 1894 but local opposition prevented it. It was then offered to the Corporation of York as a gift but was not accepted, so the canal remained with the railway until being nationalised at the beginning of 1948.
An offer by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive (part of the British Transport Commission) to sell the canal to Ripon Corporation in 1952 was declined. Luckily, closure of the canal was unpopular locally and this prevented it from being filled in. In 1956, the Canal was offered to Ripon Motor Boat Club, who was interested in the moorings on it. This was subject to the condition that they would not oppose abandonment of the top two locks. Although this was opposed by IWA nationally, the agreement went ahead and the upper two locks and a road bridge were demolished. The lower part, which connected to the Ure Navigation was kept open.
Restoration of the Ripon Canal
By 1982 IWA had persuaded North Yorkshire County Council to include full restoration in the River Ure and Ouse Recreational Subject Plan. The Council suggested that a restoration society should push this forwards and so the Ripon Canal Society was formed in 1983. The restoration was completed in 1996.