Latest News

Sankey Canal Water Supply problems

For more than forty years Fiddlers Ferry Power Station has provided a supply of water to the southern end of the Sankey Canal.
When the canal closed and was officially abandoned in 1963 the canal was left to decay, the section of canal above Bewsey was taken over by the river authority and Sankey Brook was diverted into the bed of the canal to alleviate flooding in the Dallam area of Warrington, this meant that the section of the canal through Warrington, Fiddlers Ferry and on to Widnes was left to run dry.  Around this time Fiddlers Ferry Power station was being built at the same time as Warrington and Halton Councils were creating the Sankey Valley Linear Park and the power station offered to supply the canal with water.
About five years ago it was rumoured that the power station was to close and turn off the water supply, however during the decommissioning process water continued to flow into the canal. 
In the middle of March 2022, Warrington BC announced that the supply of water it had been providing from one of the power station lagoons had been turned off and would not be resuming,  leaving the canal to face the consequences.  Now the water levels are at a critical state where boats are resting on the bottom and the wild life is beginning to suffer, plans are being made to remove the fish stocks.  Halton BC say they are still committed to restoring the canal in Halton, and are looking at making good some of the canal infrastructure whilst the water levels are low.
In the meantime, anyone who wishes to express their concerns could they please write to their local MP.  If they live in the Widnes Area it's Derek Twigg, if they live in Warrington South it's Andy Carter.  If you live anywhere else, please write to your local MP and state your concerns and give more backing to the problem nationally.

Boats are resting on the bottom

Sankey Viaduct Vegetation Clearance

At the beginning of March, Groundwork employed a contractor to  clear trees and unwanted vegetation from both sides of Sankey Viaduct to open the view of this Grade One listed Structure.  Once the contractor had finished, volunteers moved on site to tidy up the area.  During the early part of this project there was a suspect bomb scare when a member of the public out walking his dog found what he thought was an unexplored bomb, this turned out to be an old, discarded fire extinguisher.

A clear view of Sankey Viaduct now that the tree growth has been removed

Sankey Bridges, Swing Bridge removal

At the beginning of April, Warrington Council removed the swing bridge at Sankey Bridges.  This bridge had been the site of many SCARS work parties over the past thirty years.  We had endeavoured to keep the bridge looking tidy and in reasonable condition, however the ravages of time had taken its toll on the iron girders below the deck and the council deemed it to be a health and safety hazard, so it had to go.

Warrington council moved in and cleared the site of vegetation prior to the contractor coming on site

This is what is left of the bridge, the rollers, and the pivot

19 Jul 2022 17:30

Our most recent Work Party

SCARS & Groundwork:

There was a set of 3 volunteer Work Parties at Bradley Swing bridge.

The task was to re-paint the bridge.

On Wednesday 22nd June we had 6 volunteers and we  completed the north side of the bridge.

On Thursday 23rd June we had 3 volunteers and then we needed a third session on Tuesday 23rd June when we had another 3 volunteers.

The work involved preparing the metal work for painting, priming and gloss painting the stanchions in Black and the railings in White.

The North side finished

The materials were provided by the Groundwork Trust.

The South side awaiting painting

19 Jul 2022 17:30

Here is Part 2 of the video by Bee Here Now, entitled Sankey - End of an industrial landmark

Tue 25 Jan 22  16:00

St Helens Honours its Own Early Canal Pioneer

Read the transcript of the St Helens Star article here

Mon 24 Jan 22  16:15

Present at the unveiling of the plaque were, (from left to right):

Ian Hornby,

Pete Frost,

Dr Barrie Pennington,

Colin Greenall,

Neil Forshaw

Here are two new videos about the Sankey Canal.

02 December 2021

Repairs to Fidlers Ferry Lock

During the week beginning the 13th September, contractors for Warrington BC have been installing stop-logs beside the swing bridge above Fidlers Ferry lock within the gate recesses.

When that had been completed, they would be emptying the lock to repair the sills and paddles.

But, on the 20th September, they removed all of the stop logs equipment including the vertical channels which the diver had been bolting to the canal walls.

Since then, I have discovered that the contractor was causing damage to the lock wall stonework when drilling for the anchor bolts to the up-right channels. 

I understand they are now intending to install the channels on the other side of the swing bridge where the walls are the concrete foundations for the swing-bridge but the stop-logs are too short and they are waiting for longer ones to be made and galvanised.


The Newton Town Show is on Saturday 7th August 2021

It is at Mesnes Park, Park Road North, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, WA12 9TA.

We will have our stand at the show which opens to the public at 11am and closes at 5.00pm.

The public car park is accessible from St Aeldred’s Drive WA12 9GQ.


This year we will be selling our colourful Calendar for 2022 along with all the other SCARS publications, such as the “Sankey Canal Towpath Guide”, “The Sankey Canal Story”, “Why did St. Helens Grow” and the “Alan Godfrey Maps” along with our new range of SCARS souvenirs.

Come and join us for this wonderful show for all the family.

So do come along and say hello, have a chat to one of our team, tell us your stories about the Sankey Canal etc.

We will also have a wide selection of pre-owned transport & local history books and our excellent collection of Bric-a-Brac.

See you there!

IWA Donation to SCARS

On Wednesday 9th June at 4.00pm a group of IWA Chester & Merseyside members met up with members of the Society to organise a publicity photograph for the presentation of a cheque to the Sankey Canal Restoration Society for four milestones which have now all been installed along the whole length of the canal.

In the photo, Jim Forkin Chairman of IWA Chester & Merseyside presented the cheque to SCARS Treasurer Mike Harrison by Milestone “3 Mile to Ferry Lock" with SCARS Chairman Colin Greenall and Work Party Organiser Ian Hornby in attendance.

The Nine Arches and the Canal are to be awarded Red Wheel plaques

On Wednesday 2nd June 2021, Dr Barrie Pennington invited members of SCARS and several of St Helens councillors to the Nine Arches viaduct to decide on the locations of the National Transport Trust's Red Wheel plaques which will be placed on the structure.

One will be for the Liverpool to Manchester Railway viaduct which is the first railway viaduct on the first InterCity route, and the other will be for the Sankey Canal which is the first industrial canal in England.

The intention is to attain World Heritage Status for the location of the railway crossing the canal by 2029 which will be the 200th anniversary of the Rainhill Trials in which Stephenson's Rocket was the winner.


Attending the meeting were: (from left to right)

Pete Morris - St Helens Parks and Gardens

Peter Keen - Hon. Secretary of SCARS

Neil Forshaw - St Helens Councillor

David Banks - St Helens Councillor Earlestown ward

Jeanette Banks - St Helens Councillor Earlestown ward

Dr Barrie Pennington

Ian Hornby - SCARS

Terry Maguire - St Helens Councillor Earlestown ward

David Smith - St Helens Councillor Newton ward

Richard Corner - SCARS (photographer)

They are all standing on what should be the towpath

and the current path is where the canal will be soon!

Canal Cuttings On-line

There are now the most recent three years' worth of Canal Cuttings editions uploaded under the Archive tab on the Canal Cuttings pages.  They are in pdf format along with an image of the Contents. 

Click on the Cover image to open the document in a new browser window.

26 Jan 21 13:30

More on Milestones

This is an article from the Winter 2016 edition of Canal Cuttings on Milestones by Dave Smallshaw.

Please read the full document by clicking and downloading the image on the right and the .pdf document will open in a new browser window.

19 Jan 21 22:00

More Milestones installed

New information about the milestones in the Warrington Borough area.

Two more milestones were installed on Christmas Eve: the '2 Mile to Widnes Lock' and the '3 Mile to Widnes Lock' milestones were installed between Fiddlers Ferry and Spike Island.  The last one: '1 Mile to Widnes Lock' will be installed after Halton BC have upgraded their section of towpath.

There is a document that details the Locations of each of the Milestones. Click the link on the right to read it.

12 Jan 21 21:00

Locations of the New Milestones

We were told by Warrington Borough Council that the milestones in the borough would be installed beginning the 23rd December.

Five milestones have been installed: 1 mile from Ferry Lock through to 5 mile from Ferry Lock.

Thank you to Sankey Canal, Past, Present and Future Facebook group members for posting photos of the newly installed milestones.

29 Dec 20 11:25

Future Events that SCARS Sales & Exhibition Gazebo will be attending:

Events will appear here when I know the details!

Although we cannot have any Work Parties during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Please see the new News Archive page for previous News items

Last Edited: 05 Oct 21 15:15