PLANS are in the making for a 'big dig' to uncover and restore the hidden heritage at Ringley Locks.

Over the coming year, canal works parties are due to be held with the aim to preserve and improve the area by exposing the locks.

Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Society (MBBC) is leading the project, which is currently in the very early stages. The Society is looking at funding options and seeking permission for the work.

Society chairman, Paul Hindle said: "We have found a section of the top lock. We need to pull the soil off and get the diggers and volunteer work parties in.

"It is about preserving our heritage. The Society is here to build bridges and carry out heavy engineering. We don't want to be a group that just picks litter up."

Ringley Locks were filled in during the 1950s along with the bridge under Ringley Road.

Currently, only the uppermost part of the top Ringley lock can be seen. The middle pound and bottom lock are both hidden.

The project will see the excavation of infill to expose the locks down to the first set of stones.

It will be the next major project undertaken by the Society, which was responsible for building the famous Meccano Bridge in 2012, and uncovering Nob End Locks in Little Lever.

In November, volunteers were busy clearing lock walls and building habitat at the site.

Hand clearance work has also been carried out around the locks site to remove trees and overgrowth to clear the area.

Volunteer Matthew Clark said: "Ringley Locks is in pretty poor condition. There is stonework missing and the bottom lock is completely buried.

"However, there is an awful lot that is left. We have plans to dig out and expose these locks.

"I'm delighted that we are moving forward. I've been involved for almost four years now and the difference has been brilliant.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what lies under the infill at the locks as we can expose history that has not been seen for more than 50 years."

The Society also wants to establish whether the foundations of the demolished lock house have survived.

Recent works, funded by Transport for Greater Manchester, have made the towpaths between Ringley and Radcliffe more accessible, which in turn is opening up the area to more people.

Mr Hindle said: "There are a number of people using the towpath. It is fantastic to see it brought back into use in an area where we are working."