This page contains the different types of stanking plank store we have encountered on the canals we have cruised around England and Wales.
The canals are in alphabetical order and there is a section at the end containing pictures of stanking planks in use.
Some people have commented about me calling stop planks, stanking planks. Whilst I accept that the common usage is for stop planks I call them stanking planks as I explain further down. The planks are inserted in narrow sections of canals, such as bridge holes or lock heads and tails to hold back the water as a dam. The dam is called a stank and can also be referred to as a cofferdam. The planks are lowered into the water, puddled with clay and hence cause a watertight barrier so water can be drained out for maintenance on the drained section.
Karen and I were walking along the Aylesbury arm a good few years ago to have a look at the works that CRT were carrying out on the locks. We went along on the day they were stunning fish to remove them from a partially dewatered section to a section still in water. One of the workers kindly explained what they were doing and started with how they dewater a section of canal. He showed us the stop planks but referred to them as stanking planks. I just loved the expression so from that point on I also called them stanking planks.
When we were on the Montgomery canal at the end of 2015 we took a walk along a section that was being restored and, again, a CRT guy explained what was going on and he too referred to the stop planks as stanking planks. So whilst I accept stanks are generally accepted as being created by stop planks, there are some who refer to them (rightly or wrongly) as stanking planks and I shall continue to be one of those.
Birmingham & Fazeley canal
All the stores on this canal are built into the bridge structure apart from one stand alone one which I assume is more modern.
|Stanking planks store built into the side of the bridge arch|
|Close up of a door on the store|
|Inside a bridge store - complete with stanking planks|
|I assume this is built stand alone as it looks like the bridge has been rebuilt without a store in it|
|This canal is so wide that the stanking planks have to be lifted in by crane. It also means they don't have to be chained up securely as they wouldn't be easy to steal|
|Open air store with planks neatly numbered in the order they are to placed in the canal|
|And on the other end the planks indicate which way round they are to be placed|
|By lock 6 - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
|By Cheddleton lock - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
|By Hazelhurst lock - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
|By Leek tunnel - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
|By lock 9 - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
|By lock 4 - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
The only store I have come across is one just before it meets the Birmingham & Fazeley canal, so maybe not surprisingly, it's of similar style.
|Stanking plank store built into the bridge|
|Air hole the other side to let air flow through and keep the planks dry|
Grand Union canal
Not come across many stores on the Grand Union and the ones I have are rather tatty. I have come across three different types:
|Pre-cast concrete legs and rounded corrugated iron roof|
|Iron rail uprights and no cover|
|Wooden uprights with sloping corrugated roof|
What a mash up the stores are on this canal. There are six different types in use; most canals have only one or two types.
|A modern day store as these were built for a marina entrance|
|A pre-cast concrete shelter|
|Brick built shelter|
|Store built into the bridge (a la Birmingham & Fazeley canal)|
|Just a pile!|
|Fancy wooden hut without any sides|
|Brick built shelter built when the bridge was recently rebuilt|
|Same style as one of the Llangollen types|
|Open to the elements with a slightly sloping roof by the bridge at the bottom of the Napton flight|
|At the bottom of the Napton flight - we assume the colour coding indicates which lock the planks belong to|
|By bridge 112 - Brickyard bridge, Napton|
|Marston Doles narrows (not sure if was originally a bridge)|
|By bridge 135 - Fenny Compton|
|At Cropredy marina south entrance|
|At Cropredy marina north entrance|
|Locked store at Cropredy wharf|
Peak Forest canal
|Most stanking planks are stored in the open on the Peak Forest canal|
|Brand new planks with a brand new store complete with chains and padlocks|
Two main types on this canal, either precast concrete or wooden frames with sloping roofs
|Precast concrete shelter|
|Inside a precast concrete shelter|
|Two tier wooden structure|
|Single tier structure|
|Both types sitting together by a lock|
|Both types on opposite sides of a lock|
Shropshire Union - Middlewich branch
For a canal of not many miles it was surprising to come across four different shelters:
|Corrugated iron roof|
|Brick built with concrete slabbed roof|
|Roofing felt on this one|
|Tiled roof - complete with ridge tiles|
Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal
All the shelters on this canal appear to be brick built with lockable wooden doors.
Stratford on Avon canal
No planks are stored canalside any longer as too many were taken for firewood. They are now stored at Hatton apart from one set at Wootton Wawen - these are stored on the offside so are safe.
|Planks at Wootton Wawen boat yard|
|Unused strtucture at lock 15|
|Old iron stanking plank holder at lock 27.|
|Old iron stanking plank holder at lock 39 - Bearley lock|
|Store at northern end of Edstone aqueduct|
|Store at southern end of Wootton Wawen aqueduct|
|Stanking planks about to be used at lock 30 in March 2017 - the 97 1/2 indicates the length in inches.|
Trent and Mersey canal
Pretty consistent on this canal - all the ones we have found are shallow roofed.
|Central store at Rode Heath - courtesy of Mike Fielding|
Planks in use
|Stank behind top gates of lock 30 on Stratford canal - March 2017|
|Stank behind top gates at Stoke Bruerne (2nd lock down in the flight) - February 2017|
|Holding back the water to allow bottom gates of top lock at Fradley to be removed|
|Removing top gate at Fradley top lock|
|Too wide for stanking planks so dam built instead - Gas Street Birmingham when aqueduct was leaking into railway tunnel|
|Current end of restored northern section of the Montgomery canal|
|Stanking planks used for creating a dry dock at the northern end of the Trent & Mersey canal|
|Dry dock created by using stanking planks at Rochdale on the Bridgewater canal|