Beside the waterways

IWA's West Riding Branch endeavours to see that the green corridors of the waterways support wildlife, enhance our wellbeing and are a great place for everyone.

Re-opening the riverside

The branch has two major river navigations within its boundaries which have great potential for their towing paths, originally constructed for horses to pull boats, to be re-opened as walking routes.

Accessible routes

Accessible towing paths open up the waterways (Photo: Waterways World)

The towing paths on the canal sections of the Calder & Hebble Navigation and the Aire & Calder Navigation are owned by the Canal & River Trust (CRT), and the paths remain in use.

However, on the river sections history left the ownership of the towing paths with individual land owners. The paths used to be leased to the navigation authority (currently CRT) but these were not renewed when horse towing declined. Today some sections of riverside path have fallen out of use and many are not public rights of way.

We would welcome help to co-ordinate and work with others to re-open these routes so that people can access the whole length of these navigations. 

Walking through history

The branch area contains the northernmost section of a route comprising two derelict canals that are crying out for their stories to be told in our proposed 'Keel Way'.

The Barnsley Canal and the Dearne & Dove Canal have a history involving coal fields, rivalry between themselves, competition from the railways, lease restrictions, subsidence and decline.

We would like to see a walking route established from Wakefield to Rotherham along as much of the route of the Barnsley and Dearne & Dove Canals as possible. This would include a series of leaflets showing the route and giving details of the historical features to be seen along the way.

Dearne and Dove

Boats on the Dearne & Dove (1984)

If you'd like to get involved in any of these projects, or want to suggest your own then please get in touch: