More than twenty students from Stoke-on-Trent have been working hard to improve the Caldon Canal last week.
The team from Stoke on Trent College joined the Trust at Hanley Park as part of the national volunteering week #IWill. Work involved introducing new canoe signage as part of the national canoe trail, dismantling a wall to open up the canal to the park and removing vegetation.
The work is being carried out in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council as part of a £6 million transformation of the park. The Grade II* listed park, which is one of the biggest Victorian public parks in the UK, will see improvements focused on its historic core, including the main pavilion and boat house, bandstand, two former bowls pavilions and two entrance lodges, the terrace garden and planting beds, canal bridges and footpaths.
The Caldon Canal divides Hanley Park in two. It was opened in 1779, with the park opening over a hundred years later in 1897. In its heyday the Canal was used to carry Peak District limestone, from the quarries at Cauldon Low, down to the Potteries and the industrial Midlands.
Glyn Parkes, project co-ordinator at the Trust said: "We’re working closely with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to improve the canal environment through the city and we’re delighted to be working with them and the College. The students have done amazing work transforming the Caldon Canal at Hanley Park. Not only are they learning new skills they’re helping to improve this beautiful canal as part of the park’s transformation and it’s great to think that they have contributed towards it."
Councillor Terry Follows, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, said: "The canal network is a hugely important part of the city’s heritage, and the recently launched canoe trail provides a unique way of experiencing and appreciating this rich culture. There are so many fantastic green spaces in the city, which are there for everyone to enjoy.
"It’s great that these students from Stoke on Trent College have been getting involved and helping the Trust to make these improvements. It shows a real sense of community pride, and I’d like to thank everyone wholeheartedly for their efforts."