The charity making life better by water

East Midlands Newsletter March 2021

With, we hope, the worst of the winter storms behind us and signs of Spring on the way there's lots to look forward to on our waterways in the East Midlands.

Spring bulbs on the Nottingham & Beeston Canal

Battling the elements

As is common at this time of year our waterways have borne the brunt of the Great British weather with two large storms hitting, followed by icy conditions.

Storm Christoph caused particular problems on the River Trent with water levels rising sharply. Thankfully, our expert teams were proactive in putting flood measures in place which limited damage but inevitably a clean-up operation was needed at some of our lock sites.

Storm Darcey raised river levels again which resulted in a large unpowered hopper coming free from its moorings at Nether Lock. The hopper drifted along the River Trent before being caught on the weir boom at Cromwell. Thankfully there was no damage, and no-one was hurt. Once river levels began to fall our teams were able, in very tricky conditions, to expertly remove the hopper using a workboat. We worked with the owner of the hopper, one of a handful moored at Nether Lock, to ensure that they are moored more securely.

Towpath improvements on the Trent & Mersey Canal

A project to improve sections of the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath in Derbyshire has recently been completed making walks easier and more enjoyable and improving access to local facilities for boaters.

Sections of muddy path at Willington and Shardlow have been resurfaced and widened making them suitable for use all year-round by people on foot or bike as well as those with wheelchairs or buggies.

The most recent, and final, phase of the works has involved widening and resurfacing the towpath around the historic canal village at Shardlow, between Wilne Lane Bridge and Shardlow Lock. The new path is wider and more even, making it easier for walkers and cyclists as well as boaters who want to access important services such as the local water point. Importantly the revamped route means that local people can now avoid crossing the busy London Road.

The project forms part of the Transforming The Trent Valley (TTTV) project - a National Heritage Lottery Funded (NHLF) Landscape Partnership Project. TTTV, which is led by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, sees 18 organisations work together to restore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Trent Valley. The works have been carried out by The Rothen Group through the Trust's contractor Kier.

Improved towpath at Shardlow

New role launched to increase green social prescribing on Nottinghamshire's waterways

We're delighted to have secured external funding for a new Community Wellbeing Coordinator who will be responsible for increasing the amount of green social prescribing taking place in Nottinghamshire.

Social prescribing is where GPs and other primary care professionals refer people to non-clinical services to support their health and wellbeing. Typically this is done through a link worker who will connect people with local charities, services and community groups for practical and emotional support.

The new role will involve developing relationships with GPs and link workers and other green providers to ensure that our waterways and wellbeing activities are included in social prescribing programmes. The Community Wellbeing Coordinator will also work closely with our Isolation to Inclusion project which aims to tackle loneliness in Nottingham.

The role has been developed in partnership with Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Nottingham Integrated Care Partnership, with funding coming through the government funded Notts Green Social Prescribing pilot.

Blue canoes come to the East Midlands

We're very excited to have taken delivery of eight shiny new canoes to use for wellbeing activities across the East Midlands. The canoes, which have been custom built in the Trust's distinctive blue colour and decked out with our branding, will be used for wellbeing activities, corporate days and the odd waterborne litter pick.

The canoes come with a trailer meaning they can be transported to almost any part of our network so keep an eye out for them on a waterway near you.

New canoes delivered in the East Midlands

Foxton Locks entered for a Green Flag Award

The famous Foxton Locks could be the latest section of canal in the East Midlands to be awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award. An entry has recently been submitted detailing the background to the site, its importance as a historic visitor destination and the work that the Trust and volunteers put in to care for it each year.

If successful it would be the third section of canal in the East Midlands to be awarded a Green Flag after the Erewash Canal in 2019 and the Nottingham & Beeston Canal last year.

Green Flags are awarded to the nation's best green spaces by Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

We hope to hear whether Foxton has been successful in the summer.

Arial photo of Foxton Locks

Crick Boat Show is back

We're excited for the return of Britain's biggest inland waterways festival with Virtual Crick due to take place between 24 and 28 March.

The UK's first ever interactive inland waterways show, Virtual Crick will bring all the fun of the festival from the comfort of your own home.

The event will be full of virtual tours, wellbeing videos, online exhibitions, how-to videos from waterways experts and live Q&As – including from senior representatives of the Trust. An online radio station will broadcast throughout the festival, with music, chat and interviews.

Find out more about this exciting event here.


Can you help us take a walk on the wild side?

We're on the lookout for staff, volunteers and local people who can spare an hour or two each month and would be happy to lead a local walk along some of our much-loved waterways as part of a programme of activities taking place across the region.

Whether you're keen to share some fascinating facts about the heritage and ecology of our waterways, or simply just want to talk about how the Trust cares for your local stretch of water, your support will help people to rediscover their local waterways and raise awareness of the Trust's work locally.

It's a great chance to share your knowledge and passion for your local stretch of water as well as a valuable opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air and social interaction.

If this sounds like something you would want to get involved in, please get in touch with [email protected].

Castle Marina show their mettle in dealing with metal

We're really grateful to Castle Marina in Nottingham who have offered to help us with the problems associated with magnet fishing on the Nottingham Beeston Canal.

Magnet fishing, which isn't allowed on our waterways, is growing in popularity and involves hauling items up from the canal bed using powerful magnets. It causes us a real challenge in Nottingham as large amounts of unwanted metal are left beside the towpath. Often these items are heavy, rusty and sharp and so our teams have to patrol the canal on a daily basis, taking them away from other important jobs elsewhere.

The team at Castle Marina have agreed to help with the storage and disposal of the unwanted metal saving us time and money in dealing with the problem.

Postgraduate marketing students from the Nottingham Trent University business school have also been challenged to help the Trust address the problem of magnet fishing on the canal.

The students will be designing and delivering a research-led project to help us engage with magnet fishers and help them to understand the issues around the hobby.

Discarded metal on the towpath

Virtual Boaters Conference

We're looking forward to hosting our first ever virtual Boaters Conference in the East Midlands.

The conference, which takes place on the evening of 25 March, will be an opportunity to discuss some of the hot topics in the boating world, both from a national perspective and regionally.

Our first regional boating conference, in November 2019, saw more than 50 boaters gather in Nottingham to discuss everything from dredging and managing water resources to improving customer service.

Due to coronavirus restrictions this year's event will take place over Zoom and you can register for your place here.

Last Edited: 08 March 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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