Trent & Mersey Canal Breach Update

Issue date: 15th October 2012

As reported in the earlier October Bulletin, following heavy rainfall the Trent and Mersey Canal suffered a breach at Dutton Hollow, near Preston Brook between Middlewich Big Lock 75 and Bridge 213. Significant damage was done to a supporting embankment at Croxton Flash near Middlewich.

The preliminary repairs estimate is £1.75m. The repairs will be done as a matter of urgency. CRT has explained that it starts each year with a £2m contingency within its budget. In the early autumn CRT reviewed this budget and decided to allocate £1m of the contingency for extra bank protection on the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergacnny Canals. CRT was about to allocate the remaining £1m for additional works elsewhere, but these funds will now all go towards the Trent & Mersey Canal breach repairs.


Over £11,000 has been raised so far for the Trust's Trent & Mersey Canal Emergency Breach Appeal. This includes a donation of £1000 from the Trent and Mersey Canal Society, and £250 from Birkenhead YMCA following sponsored car washing and other activities.

At least 50 metres of embankment will need to be repaired working from the river below the breach, which CRT says will be challenging. The estimate is that 1,000 tonnes of material (the embankment was largely made of sand) has been washed away. The breach at Dutton, was thought to be caused by saturated ground from heavy rainfall, combined with a tree (still in leaf) that had fallen and destabilised the bank. CRT had not recorded any leaks at the embankment before the deluge or any other reasons to be overly concerned. CRT has recorded is thanks to those who alerted them to a developing problem at the site so that it was able to take action by getting stop planks in before the breach happened.

CRT has reported that engineering work at both of the affected sites has made good progress in recent days. At Croxton, the contractor has completed a temporary access road and constructed a temporary dam close to the damaged embankment. This has allowed CRT to start reducing the water levels in the affected area. Tree clearance has been completed and a design for the site repairs is now underway. At Dutton, the geotechnical team has completed a review of the site and ground investigation will be undertaken shortly to assist the design of the repairs there. The outline programme for completing the repairs at Croxton remains Christmas. The programme for Dutton is more vague but a spring completion is a realistic target. The canal and towpath will remain closed at both sites until repairs are completed.

Boaters affected by the situation are encouraged to contact CRT as soon as possible by phoning the Red Bull offices on 01782 785 703.

Donations of £5 can be made to the emergency breach appeal by texting 'BREACH' to 70800. You will be charged £5 plus one message at your standard network rate. CRT will recieve a donation of at least £4.97 from all major networks of your £5. By using this service you agree that CRT may contact you in the future. If you would rather they didn't, text DECLINE to 70007.


See Trent & Mersey photos