Dozens of people helped out on a canal clean up and work party at King’s Norton Junction over the week end of 17th and 18th of November.
The event was a joint initiative between five waterway organisations, IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, IWA Warwickshire Branch, Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal Society and supported by the Canal & River Trust who provided all the tools, equipment and a work boat.
The clean up event also celebrated the work being carried out by contractors working for the Canal & River Trust, to the iconic guillotine lock at King’s Norton Junction, which is a Grade II* listed Scheduled Ancient Monument. After many years of being subjected to vandalism and neglect, the Canal & River Trust has obtained funding from the Peoples Postcode Lottery and English Heritage to contribute towards its restoration.
Many of the volunteers (there were 35 people on the Saturday and 31 on the Sunday) were members of the two IWA branches and the two canal societies, but there were also several people from the local community who came along to take part, including a group of cubs and scouts from the 218th Birmingham Woodgate Pioneers Scout Group, as well as members of a local history society and the Friends of King’s Norton Park.
Litter picking was carried out from the junction in all three directions – as far as Wast Hill Tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, as far as Brandwood Tunnel on the Stratford Canal and for some distance on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal heading north.
A lot of vegetation clearance was also carried out in all three directions, including removing trees and shrubs overhanging the towpath and clearing weed and grass that had encroached on to the towpath. Each day there was a small team armed with paint and brushes who painted railings, signs and gates.
Meanwhile the workboat was used on the Saturday by a team of people with grappling hooks who removed a boat full of rubbish from the canal. On the Sunday the workboat was used for offside vegetation clearance. The rubbish pulled out of the canal over the weekend included 2 huge sections of pipe bridge railings, a wheelchair and a motor scooter, as well as the usual assortment of tyres and bicycles.
Information and images courtesy of Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer