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Canal volunteers celebrate milestone with towpath project

A team of volunteers who adopted their local stretch of the Cromford Canal two years ago have marked the occasion by rolling up their sleeves to improve 200 metres of boggy towpath for visitors and local people.

Ironville after improvements

The Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) adopted a section of the canal in 2014, offering regular help to work with us.

Since then, they've been out in all weathers helping to look after the canal and make sure it's an enjoyable, welcoming place.

One of the group's biggest achievements has been working with the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) to shovel tonnes of mud out of the derelict Smiths Lock so that it can be inspected ahead of potential restoration. The team have hosted two WRG summer camps aimed at clearing the lock and uncovering the historic brickwork.

Over the course of the adoption the FCC have also tackled overgrowing greenery, painted canalside fencing and replaced a number of historic name plaques at some of the locks on the canal.

Ahead of their two-year anniversary the group turned their attention to the towpath at Ironville which was prone to puddling and became very boggy in wet weather. Again working with WRG the team have levelled the path, improved the drainage and surfaced it with crushed stone. The path is a popular walking route and local people will now be able to enjoy a canalside walk without getting their feet wet. The project has been so successful that the group are planning to carry on the improvements on the next stretch of towpath.

Wayne Ball, our volunteer development coordinator, said; "We've really enjoyed working with the Friends of the Cromford Canal and, looking back, it's amazing how much has been achieved over the past two years - they really do play a vital role in helping to look after the canal.

"Their latest works have improved a section of towpath that could get pretty horrible and their efforts mean that people can explore the canal without getting bogged down in mud.

"We're really grateful for the hard work and enthusiasm that FCC have brought to the canal over the past two years and local people can be rightfully proud of the improvements that the group have made to their local canal."

John Barker, vice chairman of the Friends of the Cromford Canal said; "We are very grateful for the support the Canal & River Trust has given us at Ironville. We recently finished stage two of the footpath with the help of WRG and look forward to completing the final stage in April 2017. We enjoy helping out and have received very positive comments from the local Parish Council who appreciate the improvements we've made for the local community and visitors a like."

Last Edited: 21 December 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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