Around £43 million will be spent giving winter makeovers to the network of waterways run by the Canal and River Trust.

The Canal and River Trust has announced that it is planning a £1.8 million winter makeover for the West Midland’s network of canals.

It is part of its £43 million winter maintenance programme.

Work in the West Midlands region is due to start in November and will be completed by the end of the March – in time for the start of the new boating season.

The work includes replacing and refitting 30 sets of lock gates each weighing several tonnes, repairing historic brick walls, replacing and repairing lock ladders, fixing 200 year old aqueducts and carrying out repairs to the canal banks.

A winter makeover is also planned for Northampton’s canals.

Simon Turner, from the trust, said: “The waterways across the West Midlands are a real gem, but they are over 200-years old so need plenty of looking after.”

“Keeping things running requires constant maintenance, so we’re using this winter period, when there are fewer boats travelling on the canal, to get as much done as we can,” he added.

Improvements to the historic Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire will also begin in November.

Grand Union Canal in Northamptonship

Northampton Arm, Grand Union Canal in Northamptonshire. Credit: davehamster/Flickr

It will include replacing and refitting lock gates at Stoke Bruerne and Cosgrove Lock, among other locations.

Lock gates typically last around 25 years and allow countless boats to travel up and down the canal.

Each new made-to-measure lock gate weighs several tonnes, and are handcrafted from seasoned oak so that they fit perfectly in the lock chamber.

Once in place, the new lock gates help conserve water and keep boats moving along the waterway.