The Swansea Canal Society was this week presented with an annual Volunteer Recognition Award by Glandŵr Cymru - the Canal & River Trust in Wales.
The Society, one of a number of volunteer groups whose work has helped to transform stretches of waterways in Wales, was selected for their excellent, year-round work in supporting, promoting and helping the daily running of the five-mile long canal.
Their work has included planting hedgerows and wild flowers in Clydach, Trebanos and Pontardawe, restoring historic structures, such as the last surviving lock keeper’s cottage at Ynysmeudwy, and repairing bridges and aqueducts.
The Volunteer Recognition Awards are presented each year to the groups that have had a significant impact on the 2,000 miles of waterways in Wales and England.
Alan Sumnall, volunteer co-ordinator at Glandŵr Cymru said: “The team of volunteers at the Swansea Canal Society have made a huge impact on the canal, so it is a pleasure to recognise them with the award.
“They’ve worked on a whole range of projects, from the eye-catching restoration of historic structures, to vital day-to-day tasks like litter picking and clearing vegetation.
“Canals are such an important part of Wales’ industrial heritage, and it is volunteer groups like this that are helping them to thrive and enrich our local communities. It is no exaggeration to say that without volunteers like this we would not have the magnificent waterways we see today.”
“We are always on the look-out for more volunteers, so get in touch if you interested in working with us.”
Meryl Hunt from the Society adds: "The Trustees of the Swansea Canal Society are delighted with the recognition the Volunteer 'Maintenance Crew' have received from Glandŵr Cymru. The group go out every week rain or shine, determined that the lengths of the Swansea Canal that remain in water, are free from rubbish and are attractive places for walkers, cyclists and the local wildlife to enjoy. They hope that one day they will have more of the Swansea Canal to take care of!"
The Swansea Canal is partly navigable by boat, from Clydach to Pontardawe, where the Society runs boat trips. The remainder is a green and pleasant walking and cycling route, nestled at the bottom of the steep-sided Swansea Valley. The Swansea Canal Society is working hard to restore the full canal, and holds regular volunteering days. Nature has reclaimed many parts of the canal, which are habitats for eels and water birds. Plans for restoration have been designed to protect both the canal’s wildlife and its rich cultural heritage.