A 240-year-old aqueduct on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Bingley will host its first open day as repairs are made to the grade II-listed structure as part of the Canal & River Trust’s annual waterway maintenance programme.

The trust, which took over the running of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales in July, is inviting people to walk along a 50 metre drained section of Dowley Gap Aqueduct and see for themselves what it takes to keep the landmark in working order.

The aqueduct, which spans the River Aire, is being drained so that any leaks can be mended.

The neighbouring two-rise lock flight at Dowley Gap will also be open for the public to visit while two sets of 3.5 tonne lock gates are being installed.

The hidden history is being opened up to the public this winter as part of trust’s £50m spend on conservation and maintenance works across England and Wales which includes the replacement or repair to 104 locks.

Iain Weston, acting waterway manager for the trust’s North West region, said: “Over 7,000 attended our Bingley Five Rise event last year and for those who weren’t able to make that special event, we’re giving them another chance to see some of our other remarkable structures.”

The Dowley Gap Open Day will run from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, January 27. The last entry will be at 3.15pm.

Event parking has been provided by Emerald Group Publishing, of Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, off Bradford Road near to the Fisherman’s Pub. Due to the nature of the works, visitors are asked to wear sturdy footwear or wellingtons.

To find out more about the repairs programme and open days go to canal rivertrust.org.uk/winter-stoppages.

  • The building of the canal will be the subject of a lecture by David Calverly to Olicana Historical Society at Church House, Church Street, Ilkley, next Thursday at 7.30pm.