Thanks to the dedication of a group of volunteers and investment from local Councils, a stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Watford and Three Rivers has been transformed.
Over the summer, volunteers from the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) helped restore one of England’s most attractive canal bridges while, just to the south, contractors working on behalf of behalf of Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council spent three months resurfacing a three mile section of towpath.
Working alongside the Canal & River Trust, WRG volunteers spent nine days bringing the Grade II listed Lady Capel’s bridge back to its former glory. They cleared debris from the 200 year old bridge, carefully repointed the brickwork and then repainted using specialist white paint.
Jenny Black, WRG’s volunteer coordinator, said: “We had a tremendous time helping to restore Lady Capel’s bridge and thanks to our efforts it has been taken off the ‘heritage at risk’ register. Restoring this wonderful piece of the nation’s history was really satisfying. This is the second project we have done with the Canal & River Trust in the south east and we are all delighted with a job well done.”
Whilst the bridge was being restored this popular stretch of towpath was also receiving some much needed improvements. Thanks to funding of over £400,000 from the Canal & River Trust, Hertfordshire County Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council, the towpath from Hunton Bridge down to the Iron Bridge Lock in Cassiobury Park has been resurfaced, transforming this much loved waterway route for the many walkers, cyclists, joggers and boaters who use it every day.
Cllr Terry Douris, Cabinet Member for Highways at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We’re really lucky in Hertfordshire as we have many miles of canal right on our doorstep just waiting to be explored. Having easy access to the outdoors is very important to local people and the waterways are a great link connecting communities and bringing people together and I am delighted with what we have achieved.”
Cllr Ann Shaw, from Three Rivers District Council, adds: “Towpaths provide wonderful green routes, linking busy towns and cities with the countryside, and thanks to this improvement it ensure that everyone can enjoy and have easy access to the waterways.”