Charity cuts back vegetation and finds award

A passenger boat charity take off side vegetation cuts into their own hands and win a national Living Waterway’s Award from CRT for their hard work.

Waterways Experience are a registered charity operating wide-beam canal boats from a beautifully landscaped boatyard on the Grand Union Canal just to the south of Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. Their two wide-beam passenger boats ply the Grand Union Canal in West Herts year round; there are few days in the year when our boats are not on the move, usually carrying clients with serious disabilities. Over recent years, their skippers and crew have found the growth in offside vegetation to be an increasing navigation hazard.

One of their founding members, Roy Cook established contact with Canal and River Trust’s local volunteer leader, Laura Summerbell to see if we might help with cutting back the offending branches. She readily agreed and set them up with all the necessary kit, including a work boat and tools so they could get to work in early Spring 2019. They then spent over 900 hours clearing offside vegetation along 8 kilometres of the canal.

Laura was so impressed with the results that she nominated Waterways Experience for a Canal & River Trust Living Waterways’ award, and they were presented with their award as national winner in the Best Customer Service or Visitor Experience Improvement category by CRT chair Richard Parry on July 4th.

Said Laura: “We’re so proud of everyone from Waterways Experiences for winning this award, it recognises the massive amount of work they’ve done. They’ve vastly improved a long stretch of the Grand Union, not only for the people benefitting from their boat trips, but for everyone using the canal. We’re delighted to have supported them and would encourage people to find out about their services and this beautiful section of waterway.”

Waterways Experience awards presentationPictured left are Laura and four of the Waterways Experiences volunteers involved in the project enjoying the awards ceremony in Birmingham on July 4th

Thanks to Waterways Experience for this report and images.

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

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