IWA Chiltern Branch

10 November 2022

On Tuesday, November 1. Wendover Canal Trust (WCT) staged its biggest ever community engagement event with more than 100 guests from 85 different organisations, to mark the 25th anniversary of work starting on restoration of the Wendover Canal. The occasion also enabled the Trust to provide an update on its activities, hold a dialogue with representatives from local organisations and thank its current supporters.      

IWA has supported the project throughout those 25 years, both nationally and through IWA Chiltern Branch, while IWA’s Restoration Hub has been providing a significant amount of support recently Our Technical Support Officer, Mikk Bradley, worked with Canal & River Trust over drawings and designs for Whitehouses sluice structure. He has also prepared detailed drawings for the repairs to the foundations of the swing bridge, including stop plank design, the Narrows structure and towpath strengthening wall. Mikk has also taken on an active role in training WCT volunteers in levelling. The WCT Environment Group were trained by IWA’s former Volunteer Co-ordinator Alex Melson on Biodiversity Net Gain, who lead a training afternoon walking along the Wendover Canal and highlighting many aspects which were of value to the wildlife at Whitehouses Pocket Park.

At the event, which was held in “Your Café in the Park” in Aston Clinton, WCT chairman Clive Johnson said the canal was almost impenetrable when the decision was taken to restore it and the first task was to clear the hawthorn scrub. He said that volunteer construction started in 1997 and that “our wonderful volunteers have been doing heavy construction work for 25 years – and we are all unpaid.”

He added: “Our plan is that by the end of 2025 we will complete our lining of section which has always leaked near Tring, then we will restore the water level all the way to Wendover for boats to Buckland, and eventually Wendover. None of this would have been possible without the funders of the restoration and the towpath upgrade.” The canal and its towpath were becoming a green corridor, he said, “accessible to us all to boost our well-being, with increased biodiversity.” Ros Daniels (Canal & River Trust Director for London and South East) proposed a celebratory toast and other distinguished guests included Commodore Tim Hennessey, RN DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire; Wing Commander Anna Toothill, Deputy Station Commander, RAF Halton and Councillor Christopher Townsend, Mayor of Tring.

Over the years, local Waterway Recovery Group volunteers have got stuck in at the Trust’s regular work parties, and this summer two WRG canal camps were held on the Wendover Canal. WRG regional groups have held weekend digs on site, two digs so far this year. IWA’s Restoration Hub will continue to support this project and run camps there in 2023 and beyond.