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Your regional roundup

You asked, we answered. Now you can look forward to stories from a canal or river near you every quarter. This month, we’re turning the tide against pollution in Gloucester, exploring Birmingham on foot after the Commonwealth Games, and catching up with vital improvement works in Leighton Buzzard.

A new solution to pollution

In Gloucester, we've recently launched two new initiatives to improve the environment; help introduce more vegetation, boost wildlife and rid the historic docks of harmful and unsightly litter.

Earlier this year, we installed a Seabin in the corner of Victoria Basin, the first of its kind on the network. Usually deployed in the ocean, these clever machines act as a sort of floating dustbin, skimming the surface of the water and hoovering up debris. In the past month alone, we've collected over 80kg of rubbish, saving our team many hours of work. Volunteers from the Canal & River Trust and Young Gloucestershire have been tasked with emptying the Seabin and analysing its contents, helping us monitor the impact it's having on the environment. In time, we hope to see vast improvements in water quality.

While the Seabin is sifting rubbish, our volunteers have been busy installing a new floating reedbed made out of special interconnected pontoons. Seeded with fast-growing reeds and aquatic plants, the reedbed will attract water birds and insects and provide shelter for fish. With yellow flag irises, purple loosestrife and other flowering plants, it'll also add a welcome splash of colour to the dockside.

Learn more about our enterprising work at Gloucester Docks

All roads lead to Birmingham

One of the stops on the Birmingham Platinum Jubilee Walkway

If this summer's Commonwealth Games has inspired you to explore the city by canal, why not follow Birmingham's Platinum Jubilee Walkway? Opened in February to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the walk follows a circular route around the city, taking in famous landmarks like Centenary Square and Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

With more than half of the 13-mile route running alongside Birmingham's canals, it's a great way to explore the city, and you don't have to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy it. Within a few miles of the centre, you'll find all sorts of interesting attractions, like the Pen Museum in the Jewellery Quarter or the famous Black Sabbath Bridge. The great thing about this walk is that it has something for everyone. You can go for a leisurely stroll and take in a few sights or challenge yourself and tackle the entire route. Whatever you decide, you're sure to encounter some stunning cultural landmarks along the way. So if you're planning to visit the UK's famous second city this summer, be sure to bring your walking shoes.

Discover Birmingham's Platinum Jubilee Walkway

Essential works in Leighton Buzzard

Three people standing next to the canal in hi-viz workwear

Whether it's taking the dog for a walk, putting in a few miles on the bike, or simply getting from A to B, millions of people rely on our towpaths every single day. That's why we take their upkeep so seriously.

At Leighton Buzzard, we've just broken ground on a new £500,000 towpath improvement project, part of a raft of similar works we're delivering across the country. On a recent site visit, MP for South-West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous, was keen to emphasise just how important it is that our towpaths are properly maintained. As he rightly says, the towpath at Leighton Buzzard is a vital local resource, providing a quiet, traffic-free environment, a haven for wildlife, and a spot where people can relax, exercise and escape the hubbub of modern life.

It's a similar story across the network. By striving to keep our 2,000 miles of towpath safe, clean and welcoming, we hope to encourage as many people as possible to visit their local canals and enjoy the mental and physical wellbeing benefits of being by water.

The towpath improvement works at Leighton Buzzard are due to be completed in late August, all part of our ongoing commitment to ensure our canals and rivers remain open and accessible to all.

Explore a walking route on your local canal

Last Edited: 05 August 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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