News article created on 4 June 2018

Volunteer swings into action on Grand Union Canal

Local Northchurch resident David Legg has adopted a swing bridge on the Grand Union Canal, volunteering to help look after his local stretch of waterway.

Winkwell, Grand Union Canal Winkwell, Grand Union Canal

Winkwell swing bridge, so called as it swings out across the canal to allow people and vehicles to cross over the waterway and then swings back to allow boaters to navigate along the canal, is just one of three swing bridges on the southern section of the Grand Union Canal.

David will be spending one day a month helping staff care for the bridge and will be carrying out a variety of general maintenance tasks such as painting the bridge, tidying the towpath nearby, as well as working with staff to ensure the bridge swings opens and closes smoothly.

Waterway adoptions give people the chance to make a real difference to their communities by helping to improve their canals and rivers. At a hands-on level they get involved in activities specific to their waterway, from recording and improving wildlife habitats or maintaining a local towpath, to helping run educational or community events.

Sonny King, volunteer coordinator at the Canal & River Trust, said: "It's lovely to be working with David as he has boundless amounts of energy and a real enthusiasm for caring for the waterways which is great to see. The stretch of the Grand Union Canal is busy with boaters and visitors enjoying a stroll away from the town centre and, thanks to the dedication of volunteers like David, our canals are great place to visit throughout the year.

"Being outside along the canal is great way to spend your day and research recently published by the Canal & River Trust shows that being outside next to water is also great for your mental health and physical wellbeing."

David, said, "I’ve always loved canals and I used to work for British Waterways back in the day so when the opportunity to volunteer with the Canal & River Trust came up I jumped at the chance. I particularly like the swing bridge as it’s near to where I live and the only one on the canal for miles, so I get to help look after something that’s a bit different. I hope to be able to help boaters with opening and closing the bridge and help keep traffic moving along the canal and on the road."