Ashton & Peak Forest Canals get deeper!


Ashtak 40 volunteers at Dukinfield Junction

Ashtak 40 volunteers at Dukinfield Junction

10 truck loads of rubbish were pulled from the Lower Peak Forest canal over just 2 days in October by volunteers, including several motorbikes, lots of bicycles, numerous tyres and a safe during a recent Canal Clean Up around Dukinfield Junction.

On the Ashton Canal heading north east from the junction (towards the Huddersfield Narrow Canal) vegetation was cleared from the towpath, a wooden fence was painted and shopping trolleys and a photocopier were removed from the canal. On the Ashton Canal heading south west from the junction vegetation was cleared, wooden fences were painted and a stretch of canal grappled for rubbish.  Bridge 28 of the Ashton Canal was cleared of rubbish and the offsides of the bridge were cleared of vegetation and a deep amount of soil and debris. Grass and other vegetation was removed from the towpath bridge over the junction and the stonework on top of the aqueduct. The whole area was litter picked, so anyone visiting Dukinfield Junction will certainly notice a difference.  Boaters using this stretch of canal have already reported an improvement in navigating through the bridgeholes.   The weekend was also an opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of an even bigger canal clean up, ASHTAC. Ashton Attack followed on from Operation Ashton, and saw approximately 1000 people work on the derelict Ashton and the Lower Peak Forest canals over a single weekend in March 1972.  The event contributed to the Cheshire Ring being re-opened to navigation just two years later, in 1974.

At least a dozen of the volunteers who came along this time had been at ASHTAC forty years ago, and several others called in to the event to join in the reminiscing.  Among the artefacts that people brought along were photographic displays, an ASHTAC commemorative booklet, a hand painted “ASHTAC – sign in here” board and even Mr Mac’s cardboard collecting box for donations for tea and coffee!  Mr Mac (David McCarthy) was present carrying out the same function as he did 40 years ago – keeping the volunteers refreshed with tea, coffee and biscuits.

As well as the monthly work parties which will start on Saturday 27th October, and thereafter on the 4th Saturday of each month (see for further details), IWA Manchester Branch are keen for a larger scale clean up to become an annual event, on a different part of Greater Manchester’s waterways each autumn.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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