The Trust, working in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund, Highways England and Sandwell Council, has started the next phase of work to improve the water quality that will benefit the environment and wildlife at Titford Pools in Oldbury.
Built in the 1770s, the pools were originally constructed as a small reservoir to feed the Titford Canal. Today they still provide water to both the canal and to Edgbaston Reservoir in Birmingham. Over the years the pools had become silted up, affecting the water quality and preventing boaters from being able to use the pools.
The next phase of the £3million project involves working with Sandwell Council to manage the overgrown vegetation around the pools. The work includes removing dense bushes and scrub to open up the area, allow more light onto the woodland floor and encourage more plants and wildlife to the area.
Managing the vegetation will also improve the paths through the site, helping to make the pools more accessible for local people. 250 native trees and a new community orchard of around 100 different fruit trees will also be planted.
To date, the project at Titford has seen 30,000 tonnes of silt from the pools, and special ‘Vortex Separators’ installed which filters the silt from the water entering the pools and the River Tame. Bank protection has also been installed along the edge of the wildlife friendly island in the middle of the pool to protect it from erosion.
Samantha Taylor, our project manager, said: “Titford Pools is a little green oasis in an area of Oldbury that is really quite urban. For the last 12 months we’ve been focusing on improving the water quality and removing the silt from the pools. This part of the project is now finished so we’re now turning our attention on improving access to the pools as well as the paths around the area.
“Now more than ever, having access to a green space is important for local people and our research shows that being next to water is good for your mental and physical health. The work we’re doing benefits local people and wildlife and I look forward to the day where we have colourful boats and boating festivals back at the pools.”
Sandwell Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “So many people drive past the pools as they go along the M5 viaduct without realising there is this wonderful little oasis sitting alongside the motorway and our very busy local road system.
“Through our work with the Canal & River Trust, ERDF and Highways England we have already made real improvements to the pools.
“We’re all looking forward to starting the planting and wildlife improvements that will make the site an even better place to visit for people by boat, by bike and on foot.”
The Canal & River Trust’s towpaths remain open during the latest coronavirus lockdown, with those visiting encouraged to stay local, limit their use and be respectful of other people and moored boats.