About the Ripon Canal
The Ripon Canal is an early navigation which opened in 1773, right at the beginning of the “Canal Age”. It facilitated trade by extending the River Ure Navigation into Ripon and allowed the passage of the local 58ft long Keels.
Traffic declined under ownership by the North Eastern Railway whose attempt to officially abandon the canal in 1894 failed. The canal became unusable and was reported to be impassable in 1906. Following nationalisation, the British Transport Commission offered to sell the canal to Ripon Corporation in 1952, but without success. Closure of the canal was unpopular locally and this prevented it from being filled in. From 1956, Ripon Motor Boat Club established moorings below Bell Furrows Lock, which kept Oxclose Lock open, while IWA engaged with North Yorkshire County Council to reopen the full canal, which led to the formation of Ripon Canal Society in 1983. The canal was formally reopened in September 1996.
The Ripon Canal (2.3 miles [4 km] long with 3 locks) runs from its junction with the River Ure at Oxclose Lock to the Canal terminus in Ripon. The River Ure Navigation (8 miles [12.8 km] long with 2 locks) then runs from the Ripon Canal at Oxclose Lock to Swale Nab, where it joins the River Swale (navigable for about 1 mile – 1.6 km – to Myton) and becomes the Yorkshire Ouse.
[ The photo shows a narrowboat at Ripon Basin on the Ripon Canal – by John Lower]