Northern Canals Association

Northern Canals Association

The informal independent meeting place for waterway restoration groups

President – Keith Gibson

Chair – Ivan Cane


The NCA offers an informal and independent meeting place for waterway restoration groups across the Country. We hold biannual meetings, usually in February and October each year. On other pages you will find details of up-and-coming meetings, past meetings, members listings and contact details.

Each meeting is held at a host site, for example in 2022, these were at the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust’s Draycott Cottages and at Chesterfield Canal Trust at their Hollingwood Hub. For the Spring Meeting in 2023, we visited the Bradley Canal and the C&RT Bradley Lock-gate manufacturing workshop, with an Indian lunch at the local Old Bush Inn.  For the Autumn meeting for 2023, we’ll be visiting Radcliffe at the heart of the summit of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal – see the “Upcoming Meetings” page for further details.

The normal format is for the host to organise morning speakers that link with their particular needs and also relate to the restoration scene as a whole.

Many find the networking aspect of coffee and lunch times particularly useful.

The afternoon’s Update Session allows various societies to share their experiences, good and bad.

Finally, a site visit, or two, is arranged so that you can see the theory in practice. As both small and large groups act as hosts, this gives the opportunity to see all aspects of restoration.

On the members’ page you will find a map showing the groups’ locations and links to their websites.

The organising team are Chris and Steve Hayes (Sleaford Navigation Trust), Chris Madge (Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust), George Rogers (Chesterfield Canal Trust), Iain Duncan (Barnsley, Dearne & Dove Canal Society) Patrick Moore (Somersetshire Coal Canal) and myself, Ivan Cane, as Chair.



The first meeting of the NCA was way back in June 1991, at Marsden, on the route of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It was organised by the then Chair of the Huddersfield Canal Society’s restoration company, Keith Gibson. Keith then continued to organise three meetings a year, for the following fourteen years until 2005. At that point, Keith became President, in recognition of all the work he had undertaken, and Chris Hayes took over the role as Chair.

Chris’s first meeting was held at the Daisy Nook Park, hosted by the Hollingwood Canal Society. The NCA continued to hold three meetings a year until the WRG Restoration Conferences started, it was then reduced to two, so that the NCA’s and WRG’s meetings complemented each other.

Following the Uttoxeter meeting in 2018, Chris decided to retire as Chair. However, with Covid intervening, her successor decided that he was unable to take on the role. That brings us to 2021, when a group of us, including, thankfully, Chris and Steve Hayes bringing their expertise, set the ball rolling again. One problem was that the NCA’s database was now well out-of-date. Calling on the help of IWA’s Alison Smedley and Jenny Morris, to circulate all restoration groups, we were enabled to update the NCA’s lists. Covid still loomed resulting in the proposed February 2022 meeting being postponed until April. On the 24th of that month 36 gathered for a most welcome NCA day, hosted by the Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust, at their newly opened Draycott Cottages complex.