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Saturday 13 July

Today's news from the web

  • Council attacks plan to link Derby to HS2 via Derby canal route derbytelegraph.co.uk

    Erewash planners would rather a bus or tram lane be built on the A52 to link Derby to HS2, despite the higher cost, to avoid construction on a former canal. A report revealed by Erewash Borough Council ahead of a meeting of the authority's top team next week says that preferred plans to build a link to the proposed HS2 hub in Toton would hamper its own aims. It wants to reopen a derelict stretch of the Derby to Sandiacre canal but a new study highlights the former waterway as a good choice for any link scheme to the HS2 hub....

  • Lincoln canal sells at auction for £255k thelincolnite.co.uk

    The 11-mile Fossdyke navigation between the Trent & Lincoln has been sold at auction for £255,000. The auctioneers could not give out the name of the canal’s new owner but said that the private investor has bought similar properties before. Believed to be the oldest man-made waterway of its kind, the Fossdyke Canal was built to provide an important link between the River Witham and River Trent. It had a guide price of £200,000 when Acuitus Auction started bidding at the Montcalm Hotel in London. When the new owner takes over they would achieve £9,500 in rent each year. The tenancy for the Canal and River Trust has been open from 1846 and will finish in 2740, so for a total of 894 years....

Monday 8 July

Today's news from the web

  • The mystery of how canal water turned blue has been solved birminghammail.co.uk

    The mystery behind why a stretch of canal popular with families turned blue has been solved. The discovery was made by a dog walker on June 21, near the Park Head Bridge on Dudley Canal. According to the Canal and River Trust, the pollution was down to a type of oil - which they believe may have been cooking oil....

Thursday 4 July

Today's news from the web

  • Yorkshire Waterways Museum building for sale for £100,00 thebusinessdesk.com

    A buyer is being sought for the former Yorkshire Waterways Museum, in Goole. Located on Dutch Riverside, accessed from Bridge Street, the property is close to Goole marina and a number of other canal and riverside businesses. While it functioned as a museum the 6,400 sq ft building was also home to a café, hosted school visits and was used as a starting point for boat trips around the town’s docks and canal. PPH Commercial is marketing the long leasehold interest to include the buildings for £100,000, on behalf of liquidators representing The Sobriety Project....

Wednesday 3 July

Today's news from the web

  • Ram Raiders Jailed After Police Find Suspects Hiding In Birmingham Canal lbc.co.uk

    Dramatic footage shows the moment a gang was found hiding in a Birmingham canal after using a stolen Land Rover as a battering ram. CCTV footage shows the moment the gang first approach a currency exchange shop, using crowbars to weaken reinforced glass before a stolen Land Rover is rammed through. As one man looks out, two others pushed a safe from the back of the shop out onto the pavement outside, before dumping it in the back of an Audi....

Tuesday 25 June

Today's news from the web

  • Dutchman swims 121-mile canal ice-skating route hit by climate crisis theguardian.com

    As Europe braces for a heatwave this week, a Dutchman is swimming the route of the country’s most famed ice skating race, which has not been held for two decades as the climate crisis bites. Instead of skating the 121 miles (195km) of the daunting Elfstedentocht (11 cities race), the Olympic gold marathon swimmer Maarten van der Weijden is ploughing his way through its canals....

Friday 21 June

Today's news from the web

  • Developers building homes near Basingstoke Canal will be asked to help maintain towpaths getsurrey.co.uk

    House builders could be asked to help maintain towpaths if their developments are built close to a canal. Councils will also be asked to take into consideration the impact of new builds on wildlife and surface drainage around the waterways, according to a report. The proposals form part of a new set of guidance for planning applications near to the Basingstoke Canal....

Thursday 13 June

Today's news from the web

  • Town could get another bridge across Ship Canal warringtonguardian.co.uk

    Another bridge could be built over the Manchester Ship Canal to improve connectivity between south Warrington and the town centre. The two major highway schemes proposed in the draft local transport plan, LTP4, are the Western Link and garden suburb strategic link in Warrington South. The £212 million Western Link, which will provide a crossing over the Ship Canal, could be open by 2025....

  • Edinburgh church honours wartime nurses who transported wounded by canal scotsman.com

    A Peace Garden is being dedicated today to the Scotland’s First World War ‘barge sisters’, the nurses who transported seriously wounded soldiers in ‘hospital barges’ along canals in France, Flanders, and later the Nile. The garden, by the Union canal at Polwarth Parish Church in Edinburgh, is complemented by a display of photographs in the kirk’s Drennan Hall. ...

Tuesday 11 June

Today's news from the web

  • Gift of coal for Lancaster Canal's 200th birthday thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk

    A lump of coal to mark the 200th anniversary of the Lancaster Canal has been presented to the chairman of South Lakeland District Council on a stretch of towpath. The unusual gift was given to Cllr Stephen Coleman by Alan Roberts, of Lichfield Cruising Club, as a nod to the fact the waterway was known as the "black and white canal" for its cargoes of coal from Wigan and limestone from Kendal....

Friday 7 June

Today's news from the web

  • Garden with canal tunnel to feature at BBC Gardeners World Live cravenherald.co.uk

    Award winning garden designer, Chris Myers, has teamed up with The Canal and River Trust and volunteer lock keepers to create a garden for next week's BBC Gardeners’ World Live. The ‘Making Life Better by Water’ garden aims to bring to life an authentic canal experience that captures the beauty and diversity of the nation’s historic waterways and also to celebrate the ways in which they can be enjoyed for keeping active, sharing time with family and friends or for enjoying some peace and relaxation....

Wednesday 5 June

Today's news from the web

  • Halesowen in Bloom goes international with narrowboat floral display herefordtimes.com

    Judges from America and Canada have jetted into Halesowen this week as the town seeks to win international honours for its floral displays. The Halesowen in Bloom team are showing John Lohuis, from Ontario in Canada, and Alex Pearl, from Ohio, USA, around the town from yesterday (Monday) to tomorrow. They will be taken to the canal at Hawne Basin, Leasowes park, Leasowes walled garden, Halesowen Golf Club and then to the town centre and St John's Church. Scores of hard-working volunteers have been grafting across the town and a model narrowboat, constructed by Coombeswood Canal Trust, at the bottom of Mucklow Hill, is one of many spots which have been planted up....

Thursday 30 May

New Montgomery extension takes shape

The Canal & River Trust has taken a major leap forward this spring in the mammoth task of restoring the canal which closed in 1936 due to a breach.

Now the trust has been working with volunteers from the Shropshire Union Canal Society (SUCS) and contractors to upgrade nearly 8km of towpath, restore 2km of the canal to navigation from Maesbury to Crickheath and create a dedicated turning point for narrowboat, known as a winding hole.

David Carter, restoration project manager of SUCS, said there is just 390m of the stretch left to restore before boats can take to the new section of canal near Oswestry.

The aim is to have it open next year, but Mr Carter said there is a lot of work to be done to be finished on schedule.

"When it does reopen there will be an enormous surge of interest," he said.

"When it's finished it will be very popular as it's linked to the Llangollen Canal. This is just as beautiful and rather longer.

"Montgomery is one of the great causes of canal restoration. Lots of people have got behind the project and can't wait to see it open.

"We've had hundreds of wonderful volunteers helping and they come from all over the country. Most of them give up three days a month and do everything from operating heavy machinery to smaller tasks on the ground."

This latest major phase is being funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The canal trust's project manager, David Hennessey, said: "Completion of the winding hole is a particular milestone as this will allow boats to travel another 2k along the beautiful canal.

"Slowly but surely, we are achieving the major goal of connecting the mainline Montgomery down to Welshpool."

The next stretch of the canal is dry at Llanymynech and fundraising is underway to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge - the last blockage in Shropshire.

Volunteers are attempting to raise £300,000 to buy materials, hire machinery and ultimately build the new bridge.

Michael Limbrey, chairman of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, said if the project can attract more funding, the ambition is to restore the canal to Llanymynech within five years.

Further up the canal at Queens Head, two nature reserves have been constructed parallel to the canal channel at Aston Locks to provide a protective home for rare aquatic flora and fauna removed from the water.

Wildlife such as damselflies, dragonflies, otters and water voles, and rare aquatic plants including floating water plantain will be preserved.

Mr Hennessey added: "The Montgomery is a very special canal and its restoration has required a unique solution.

"The absence of boat movements over the last 80 years has allowed the man-made channel to become colonised by a wide range of rare flora and fauna.

"By creating a new three hectare wildlife habitat, we will be able to protect and conserve these species for generations to come, while enabling boats to return by excavating the main channel into navigation."

The trust sent specialist cameras including an underwater drone into the reserves on Friday afternoon to see the wildlife in its new location. 

Andrew Denny  | 2.36pm | add a comment

Thursday 23 May

Union Canal embankment protection project completed

A major all-winter project by Scottish Canals to protect the canal embankment at Linlithgow was completed in late April.

Around 3 miles of the canal was drained last year to check on the condition of various embankments, but in the end the work focused on a 1/4-mile length between bridges 45 and 46, overlooking the playing fields of Linlithgow Academy.

The stone bank was reinforced with piling and a new cycle-quality towpath laid on what is Sustrans route NCN 754, in a £1m project that came in close to time and budget.

Precautionary works to maintain embankments can be tough calls to make, as the high cost of repairs must be balanced against the consequences of failure. The embankment here was overlooking a school, and a breach could have been catastrophic.

In this, Scottish Canals was luckier than the Canal & River Trust in what looked like a roughly similar engineering decision on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The two projects started at the same time last November, but the English one has overrun considerably.

The Union Canal at Linlithgow. 

Andrew Denny  | 2.53pm | add a comment

Appeal to restore Cromford cottage

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched to help restore a familiar derelict cottage on the Cromford Canal.

The ruined 19th century Aqueduct Cottage, at Lea Wood Nature Reserve, must be one of the most photographed features of the beautiful canal, but for 50 years has been slowly crumbling. It was built in 1802 by the industrialist (and one-time partner of Richard Arkwright) Peter Nightingale. The cottage was finally abandoned in the 1970 and has been allowed to fall into ruin since.

The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust owns the cottage, and has now been granted planning permission to restore it 'with a light touch' as a visitor interpretation centre.

Spokesman Kate Lemon said: “We are working to repurpose the cottage as part of our efforts to help as many people as possible understand why Lea Wood and the wider Derwent Valley is so special.

“We’ll make sure the work will remain true to the original façade and we’ll ensure people feel welcomed in so they can learn why the building and its location are so distinct and then go on to discover the magic and beauty of Lea Wood and its wild surroundings.”

A ‘buy a brick’ campaign is aiming to raise £10,000. For more information, go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/aqueduct-cottage.

Pictures show the slow decline from when the canal was still open in the early 20th Century through to 1977 and then quite recently.

Aqueduct Cottage, Cromford old picture

Aqueduct Cottage Cromford 1977 
Aqueduct Cottage more recently 

Andrew Denny  | 2.51pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Man proposes in Chelsea Flower Show's medal-winning canal lock garden itv.com

    A couple have celebrated their engagement after using Welcome To Yorkshire's garden, at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, as the setting for the proposal yesterday. Landform, the garden consultants who created the canal-themed design, tweeted that it was "a first for us". "Congratulations to Adam and Rosemary who just got engaged on the @Welcome2Yorks garden! She said yes!"...

Wednesday 22 May

Today's news from the web

  • Yorkshire lock gate garden wins gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show thetelegraphandargus.co.uk

    This year’s award-winning Welcome to Yorkshire garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has drawn inspiration from the county’s numerous canal and waterway systems, including those here in Bradford. The garden celebrates Yorkshire’s canals and rich industrial heritage, and this is the tenth year Yorkshire’s tourism board has entered the flower show. This year’s garden is the most ambitious to date features a canal with two genuine lock gates, donated for the garden by the Canal and River Trust....

Tuesday 21 May

Milestone appeal for Lancaster 200th

An appeal has been launched to buy replacements for 24 missing milestones from the Lancaster Canal.

Milestones - or mileposts - are a key feature of almost all old canals, and many have had campaigns to restore or reinstate missing ones - for example, the Trent & Mersey, the Macclesfield and the Leeds & Liverpool Canals. 

The Lancaster Canal was 57 miles long, from Preston to Kendal, and had around 56 mileposts (the exact number is uncertain, as the canal had been shortened and they aren't sure if there was a milepost at the start in Preston anyway) 

Only 32 remain.  A local stone mason, Alan Ward, will be making and installing the replicas as part of a school education project, the new ones will be made of a local sandstone, and they will closely replicate the original designs.

There were two types of milestone. Those to the south of Lancaster had an oval plaque, probably cast iron, with a town name (either Lancaster, Garstang or Preston) and distance. None of these original cast iron plaques remain today, and a few in place are restorations.

The milestones between Lancaster and Kendal simply had mileage engraved into the stone.

The Trust is looking for sponsors to donate up to £200 to restore each mile marker.

Legend has it that many of the milestones were removed during the Second World War, when part of the canal formed part of an official stop-line to contain an invasion of the Lancashire coast, but canal historians have found no evidence for this. 

A replica plaque on a Lancaster Canal milepost near Galgate.

An original Lancaster Canal milepost near Sedgwick.


Andrew Denny  | 4.52pm | add a comment

Union Canal reopens after big embankment repair

A major all-winter project by Scottish Canals to protect the canal embankment at Linlithgow was completed in late April.

Around 3 miles of the canal was drained last year to check on the condition of various embankments, but in the end the work focused on a 1/4-mile length between bridges 45 and 46, overlooking the playing fields of Linlithgow Academy.

The stone bank was reinforced with piling and a new cycle-quality towpath laid on what is Sustrans route NCN 754, in a £1m project that came in close to time and budget.

Precautionary works to maintain embankments can be tough calls to make, as the high cost of repairs must be balanced against the consequences of failure. The embankment here was overlooking a school, and a breach could have been catastrophic.

In this, Scottish Canals was luckier than the Canal & River Trust in what looked like a roughly similar engineering decision on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, which started at the same time last November but has overrun considerably.

The Union Canal at Linlithgow.

Andrew Denny  | 4.16pm | add a comment

Pull, Snap, Stomp, 2019

The Inland Waterways Association has launched this year's 'Pull Snap Stomp' Campaign, which aims to bring out families during June and July to slow the spread of Himalayan Balsam.

The invasive plant grows so fast that it suffocates native wildflowers. But has no root stock, so when it dies back in the autumn it leaves the ground naked and susceptible to erosion.

IWA branded it ‘Pull Snap Stomp’ because you PULL up the stems, SNAP off the root and STOMP it down on a pile.

It needs to be done when the stems are big and easy enough to pull out, and they leave the ground with a satisfying ‘pop’. It must be done before the flowers turn to seeds in late summer, or you'll simply spread the seeds.

For all its nuisance it is otherwise remarkably benign and beautiful. The flowers can be foraged for flavouring gins or jellies. Ideally, harvest them on a dry, hot day and use them quickly. Put the petals in a muslin bag and pour boiling water over them to extract a subtle floral bouquet.

To see where Balsam Bashes are happening go to waterways.org.uk/himalayanbalsam, or follow the hashtag #PullSnapStomp on social media.

Himalayan Balsam flowers. Once they turn to seeds, pulling them out only serves to spread the seeds. Photo: Erica Martin.

Pull Snap Stomp is a fun family game. Photo: Alison Smedley.


Himalayan balsam infographic – all you need to know. (IWA) 

Andrew Denny  | 4.14pm | add a comment

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