Dredging project begins on Grand Union Canal in Solihull

We've begun a five month project to improve a section of the 220 year old Grand Union Canal at Catherine De Barnes between Henwood and Tyseley. The work will involve dredging sections of the canal and installing steel piles along the edge of the towpath making it easier for boaters to navigate and moor.

Digger on a float dredging the canal Steel piles installation on the Grand Union Canal

Using a long reach excavator, our team will remove mud and silt from the bottom of the canal which has built up over the years. Around 10,000 tons of silt is expected to be removed. The dredged material will be recycled along the canal and used to strengthen the canal bank, which is also being reinforced with 1.8m long steel piles.

At 137 miles, the Grand Union Canal is the longest canal in England & Wales flowing all the way from Birmingham to London. Once a busy transport route transporting coal and cotton from the midlands, the canal nowadays is a peaceful escape right in the heart of towns and cities for millions of people.

Maintaining our canals

Paul Fox, our project manager, said: “This section of the Grand Union Canal will be made deeper by the dredging ensuring that boaters on this really popular waterway don’t get stuck when navigating. Removing silt from the edge of the canal bank will allow boaters to easily moor up and visit the local shops and restaurants.

“Where sections of the canal bank have eroded away, we will be inserting steel piles into the bed of the canal. Whilst the dredging will go on for some months, the pilling work will be noisy and should take around eight weeks to complete. We apologise for any inconvenience and are doing this work first and will try to minimise any noise disruption to local people as much as possible.

“It is really important that we do this work as research shows that being next to water is good for your mental and physical health and our canals provide access to green spaces for millions. If you’ve not visited your local canal for a while, make some time this weekend and see for yourself how lovely it is.”

During the works the canal and towpath will remain open.