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.