Castleford Heritage Trust worked with multiple organisations, including the Environment Agency, Wakefield Council and the Canal & River Trust, to develop the vision for Castleford riverside and supported the planning and delivery of the Riverside Regeneration scheme.

The works were designed by Ove Arup & Partners and constructed by Costain Ltd concurrently with the Castleford footbridge.

This project achieved the following:

  • Nineteen fishing platforms were installed along the north bank of the River Aire.
  • A fish pass was set up to enable fish to migrate upstream in the River Aire and into the lower reaches of the River Calder.
  • Information boards were installed on both sides of the river.
  • A Community Garden was set up. This continues to be looked after by the Lock Lane Wildlife Garden Group.

In addition, we developed and delivered cultural responses to the Riverside:

  • Three DVDs about the heritage of Castleford were created. These have been used by many local schools and groups.
  • Alison Drake wrote ‘Thomas’ – a children’s story, which tells the tale of how a boat came to be stuck on the weir in Castleford, based on a real-life event from our town’s history. We commissioned an illustrator to visually tell this story and published this work. The book is still available for purchase at Queen’s Mill and Queen’s Mill Crafts.
  • We had an exhibition at Queen’s Mill celebrating ‘Thomas’ and the Castleford riverside.

More recently, the story of Thomas was read and recorded by staff member Sian Galley, as part of Queen’s Mill response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This video is available here:

Thomas by Alison Drake, narrated by Sian Galley

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The fish pass on Castleford Weir allowing fish to navigate through the river