CRT’s 2021 Annual Lockage Report

2021 Annual Lockage Report

After Covid restrictions were lifted, most places recorded lockage counts that were close to pre-pandemic levels, although there was little boating in the first four months of 2021. Using 178 comparison sites, the report shows a 39.4% increase in total lockage from 2020 to 2021*. The estimated total lockage of all the Trust’s locks (not just those with lock-counters) was up from 2.65 million in 2020 to 3.70 million in 2021. This is slightly below the 2019 total, before the pandemic affected boating, when there were an estimated 3.96 million lockages. However, this compares a full year with only eight months, as 2021 saw little traffic before May due to the extended lockdown period. The twinned Hillmorton Locks 2 & 3 on the North Oxford Canal saw 8,147 lockages and remained the busiest locks on the English and Welsh system. New Marton on the Llangollen Canal was the second busiest, with 7,457 lockages, and Cholmondeston Lock on the Shropshire Union was third with 7,103 lockages. At the other end of the usage scale, the least number of lockages was at Lock 1, Belan, on the Montgomery Canal (46 lockages), with Lock 1, Graving, on the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union, at 66 lockages and Carpenter’s Road Lock on the Old River Lea having 78 lockages.

Adam Comerford, national hydrology manager, said: “The last two years have been like no other, with the lifting of pandemic restrictions resulting in increases in lock use that are unprecedented in the 21 years of preparing this report.” The report can be found at

*Note: It is important to distinguish lockage from boat movements, which are the actual number of boats that travel through a lock. CRT separates boat movements from lockages to acknowledge that averages can be skewed by the boat:lockage ratio – in a typical broad lock, the ratio can be between one and four boats per lockful of water used.