Fancy being a lock keeper on Ripon canal?

Claire McDonald, centre, planting a tree on the side of Ripon Canal.
Claire McDonald, centre, planting a tree on the side of Ripon Canal.

People living in or near Ripon are being encouraged to sign up as volunteer lock keepers on the city’s canal.

The Canal and River Trust, the charity which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, is giving local people the opportunity to fulfil the historic role at locks along the Ripon Canal.

Claire McDonald, volunteer co-ordinator for the Canal and River Trust, said: “We’ve been really pleased to have so many great characters working with us as volunteer lock keepers in recent years and now we want to build on that success and get more people involved in one of the oldest and most iconic roles on the waterways.

“This historic role has changed a bit since the days of fighting off river pirates and now it’s just a really enjoyable and very rewarding opportunity to get out into the great outdoors, keep fit and make a real difference to the local area.

“We’re seeing more and more people coming forward to find out how they can help to care for their local waterways and add to people’s experience. Whether it’s helping a boat through the lock, directing visitors to local pubs or shops or carrying out practical tasks like planting flower bulbs, the volunteers’ contribution really can make a huge difference to a visitor’s appreciation of the waterways.”

Lock keeping has been a fixture on the canals for hundreds of years and the role of the modern-day volunteer lock keeper includes helping boaters through the locks, providing a polite and friendly welcome to waterway visitors and helping to maintain the historic locks.

They also play an important role in helping to conserve precious water by encouraging boaters to share locks and ensuring all gates are closed securely after each use.

Full details about how to become a volunteer lock keeper and location details can be found by contacting Claire McDonald on 07920 295943 or at

No prior experience is necessary and a full induction, training and a uniform will be provided.