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Ashby Canal Trail: Regeneration

Waterways in Progress Grant: Ashby Canal


£10,000 was awarded the Ashby Canal Trail Project as part of IWA’s Waterways in Progress Grants in 2019.

Work on the restoration of the Ashby Canal had slowed in recent years. Members of the Ashby Canal Association felt that a Waterways in Progress-style project could serve to invigorate the volunteer team. In addition, it would bring a new lease of life to the overall restoration scheme. The village of Snarestone at the terminus of the canal is a short walk from Measham. However, there is little to link the two settlements.

Waterway users arriving at Snarestone along the canal often aren’t aware that Measham, and its shops and facilities, is close by. To get to the village, they are currently forced to walk hedgelined country lanes with poor visibility and narrow or non-existent verges.

A new Ashby Canal Trail would create a safe pathway link between the village and the canal. It would cross land owned by Leicestershire County Council, which is very much in favour of the canal restoration scheme.

The new path will provide leisure benefits for locals, by encouraging visitors and walkers to get out and about on a level, easy route. The path also passes the Ashby Canal Association’s headquarters. It is hoped that the increase in foot traffic will raise awareness of the restoration, and encourage new volunteers to join the organisation.

Measham suffered from the effects of the closure of local collieries. The restoration of the canal will help with the regeneration of the area in the longer term.

Heritage of the Ashby Canal

The trail will also highlight the heritage of the area. The existing Ashby Canal towpath will form the first ⅓ mile of the route. At Snarestone Wharf, visitors will see information panels showing the history of the Grade II listed building as well as the original pump beams preserved by Ashby Canal Association volunteers. Crossing Gilwiskaw Brook, a Special Area of Conservation, the length will follow the original line of the canal to old Ilott Wharf (a major railway/canal interchange site for the old Measham colliery). It will then pursue the Transport & Works Act Order route to Measham, passing the old preserved Measham Midland Railway station, now Measham Museum.

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In May 2019 we launched a new grant of up to £100,000 to assist in funding projects, which promote the Waterways in Progress report vision and values. This grant has been made possible by legacies that have been left to the Association.

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