IWA West Country Branch

29 October 2020

Opening up Langport river frontage will attract more visitors to the town and bring more life to the waterway. The completion of this project was marked by the first usage of the slipway by cruiser Nauti Sausage on 25th October 2020. New facilities include:

  • Four pontoons with access ramps and safety equipment. Three of which are at Langport and one at Muchelney;
  • Three fishing platforms for disabled anglers;
  • New steps to permit access to the water by canoeists and kayakers;
  • Benches, picnic tables, bins and cycle racks for visitors;
  • Interpretation boards and new signage;
  • Solar lighting on footbridges; a fitness trail and an outside tap for filling reusable water bottles or washing muddy boots; and
  • Repairs to the slipway at Huish Bridge

A new Slipway for Langport River Frontage

A new all-weather riverside path runs from Langport to Huish Bridge. This is where visitors to the river can leave their car in a new car park and amenity area. The newly repaired slipway allows canoeists, kayakers, paddle boarders and trailboats to access the river. 7.6 miles of non-tidal waterway across the Somerset levels are now ready to explore.

Ray Alexander, Chairman of IWA West Country Branch commented on the completion of the river project, “We are particularly excited to see the river Parrett opened up to visitors in this way. The combination of people out enjoying the water as well as using the new facilities alongside the river will bring the waterway alive. This benefits both the local community and the local economy. It is a far-sighted project, and we congratulate Langport Town Council and the residents who have worked so hard to attract this funding and complete the work.”

the part iwa played in the river parrett project

IWA’s West Country Branch team has been right behind this project right from the very start. IWA volunteers spotted the potential for the river front regeneration, encouraging the community to get behind the initiative and persuading partner organisations and Langport Town Council to get on board. The 2016 purchase of Cocklemoor and the slipway from the Environment Agency was completed at the instigation of IWA. The charity has also supported, reviewed and drafted funding applications to support the project. Meeting participation and ad hoc advice on waterway and related issues to Councillors and the River Group committee are underpinned by hands-on practical support from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group regional “Bit in the Middle” team (WRG Bitm) and IWA’s Hon Consultant Engineer Roy Sutton.

WRG Bitm volunteers cleared vegetation from the Car Park at Huish Bridge and removed silt, mud and vegetation from the slipway, utilising an excavator and dumper. Our engineer’s slipway survey formed the basis for the repairs to the lower part of the slipway.

On-going, IWA volunteers are working along the Langport stretch of waterway on a monthly basis to keep things looking as good as possible. The team welcomes newcomers and we invite members of the local community to come along when they can.

More visitors to the river Parrett in Langport

The project is already reaping rewards as visitor numbers have increased. These numbers are expected to rise still further now that the works have been completed. The waterway regeneration has attracted several new businesses to the town, including a bike shop and bakery.

Val Saunders, Chair of Langport Town Council says “This river frontage infrastructure project has been six years in the making and has been made possible with the support of grants from the Canoe Foundation, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Defra as well as other monies raised by the Council. The benefits of this investment will become increasingly apparent as more and more people visit the river and new businesses are attracted to the area. This is a true partnership project I am really looking forward to seeing the residents of Langport and our visitors enjoy our wonderful, accessible riverside for many years to come.”

Explore more