1 September 2021

The WRG team organised a series of trial Canal Camps and a family volunteering day to test out our new COVID-19 measures. This included smaller participant numbers and lateral flow tests for all volunteers. This phased return to activity involved over 70 volunteers aged from two to over 75 years old on five different sites.  

Canal Camp Sites

Due to COVID-19 and various other issues the Schoolhouse Bridge project on the Montgomery Canal was delayed by a year. But in August our volunteers gave the project a boost. They spent a week building the compound and undertaking drainage work in preparation for major works to start in Spring 2022. Once completed, this bridge will remove the last highway blockage on the restoration before it reaches the Welsh Border. Behind the scenes, IWA’s Restoration Hub has provided advice on project planning, construction methods, as well as reviewing the drawings and design. Find out more about the Schoolhouse Bridge Canal Camp and project.

Volunteers also returned to support the restoration of Geldeston Lock on the River Waveney in Suffolk. High tide levels and erosion had severely compromised the brickwork over the years. In addition, plants and trees had grown through the wall. Volunteers spent two weeks rebuilding the south wall of the lock and will be returning for one final weekend in September to complete the work.  

Canal Camps also took place on the Derby and Sandiacre and Shrewsbury & Newport Canals.

Working at Borrowash Bottom Lock the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Camp, volunteers made significant progress in one week – completing repairs and rebuilds to the lock wing walls.  

The Canal Camp on the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal took place on a brand new site at Berwick Wharf. Volunteers spent a very muddy week digging out and repairing an old brick culvert. The culvert was so badly damaged that it had to be replaced with a new pipe and capped with concrete. 

We are now cautiously planning Canal Camps over the winter and into 2022. Our regional groups are also planning weekends supporting the Buckingham Canal and Wey & Arun Canal restoration projects.  

Find out more about IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps.