A stretch of land alongside Burnley Embankment, which previously housed a rope factory, has been transformed into a community garden by the Canalside Community Association and its partners from the Canal & River Trust, Lancashire County Council and Burnley Borough Council.
The Ropewalk Community Garden, which opens tomorrow (17 November), is a place for residents and visitors to slow down, relax and enjoy the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Burnley Embankment, also known as the Straight Mile, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways and the new community garden celebrates its history. Designed by Robert Whitworth of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Company, the embankment was built between 1795 and 1801. It carries the canal 60ft above Burnley and meant that the engineers did not have to build two sets of locks to cross the Calder Valley.
Funding for the Ropewalk has been gained from BIG Lottery Community Spaces, The Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund and Lancashire County Council. In all nearly £85,000 was raised through grants to provide this amenity for the whole community.
The area has been transformed, with boundary walls repaired and a disabled access ramp and new steps built. Bespoke railings and decorative planting have made the space more attractive for visitors, while picnic tables and benches encourage people to slow down and enjoy the area.
Canalside Community Association has had tremendous support from local residents, Veolia volunteers and Canal & River Trust staff who carried out tidy-ups and planting workshops. The plaques on the planters and the time-line mosaic were designed by young people during workshops lead by Action Factory Community Arts Company who produced the final ceramics on the planters and the mosaic situated between the two benches at the back of the site. The Ropewalk is next to the Canalside Community Centre on Lindsay Street, and will be tended by volunteers from the centre and Burnley Borough Council.
Brenda Rochester from Canalside Community Association said: “Burnley Embankment is one of the iconic sights of the British canals and brought the Industrial Revolution to Burnley. The Ropewalk Community Garden has transformed an underused stretch of grassland into a great space for locals to enjoy, as well as benefitting passing boaters and walkers who want to stop for a picnic lunch. The project is an outstanding example of the community and agencies working together to create a garden that has heritage and community at its heart."