Llangollen and Monmouthshire and Brecon lock-keepers appeal

Narrowboat in lock Enthusiasm and willingness to learn are among the qualities the trust is looking for

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A charity due to take over control of Wales' waterways is appealing for members of the public to become volunteer lock-keepers.

The Canal & River Trust said it was looking for people to welcome boaters, help them through locks and maintain the lock area.

The trust is looking to fill positions on the Llangollen and the Monmouthshire and Brecon canals.

The task has been described as the "most symbolic" on the waterways.

In April the Canal & River Trust will take over responsibility for the canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks cared for by British Waterways in England and Wales.

In Wales it has identified positions on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Llangynidr locks.

Start Quote

The task of a lock-keeper is arguably the most symbolic on the waterways”

End Quote Wendy Capelle British Waterways

The trust said volunteers had played a fundamental role in saving the canal and river network in the 20th Century and continue to help maintain and preserve it.

'Public interest'

Volunteers contributed more than 24,000 days between April 2010 to March 2011 and more than 50 people successfully took part in volunteer lock-keeper trials last year.

"The task of a lock-keeper is arguably the most symbolic on the waterways and the trials across the country have shown us that there's huge public interest out there for the waterways," said Wendy Capelle of British Waterways.

"It's a perfect opportunity for those who enjoy working in the outdoors and are perhaps looking for something different to do and want to help support the Canal & River Trust in what will be its first year."

CANAL FACTS

  • The Canal & River Trust will care for 1,654 locks across England and Wales
  • There are approximately five million 'lockings' each year (passages through locks)
  • Over 34,000 boats use the inland waterways
  • Source: British Waterways

Ms Capelle said Wales' waterways were an important heritage asset that needed looking after and said the key qualities being looked for in volunteer lock-keepers were enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

"Whether it's helping a boat through the lock, talking to customers, litter picking or undertaking vegetation works, it can really make a great difference to a visitor's appreciation of the waterways," she said.

When it begins operation, the Canal & River Trust will become one of the biggest charities in the UK.

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