Clive Walker - Volunteer of the Month February 2016

Clive Walker
Created on 04/02/2016

Photo: Walkers at Hademore House Bridge, Coventry Canal - Clive Walker located in centre, wearing a yellow tabard

Clive Walker is a member of IWA Lichfield Branch and organises regular walking trips for IWA members and local walkers, introducing them to different waterways both in rural and urban settings.

How and when did you first become interested in inland waterways?

It was when I went on a boating holiday thirty years ago.

When did you first become involved with IWA?

I started to attend branch meetings about ten years ago and gradually became involved in work parties.

You currently organise and lead Lichfield Branch’s regular canal walks. What does this role involve?

The walks take place every two months on a Tuesday, and by branch tradition, on New Year's Day. They are partly a social activity and partly a fund-raising opportunity; many of the walkers are regulars but not all are IWA members, many of them are local walking groups who have seen a poster for the walk and make a small donation to branch funds.  

The requirement is that the walks should include some water (not necessarily a canal) and be as accessible to all as possible i.e. not too many stiles, easy terrain and around 5 miles in length.

What is your favourite waterway?

I live near the Coventry Canal but my favourite canal has to be the Ashby Canal because I am actively involved in the restoration of the missing six miles.

What changes have you seen to the waterways during the time you’ve been walking them?

The rural stretches are much the same as they have always been, but the urban sections contain many interesting attractive dwellings which have been converted from former warehouses and working premises. I'm all for the regeneration of derelict urban spaces and finding new uses for old buildings once their original purpose has passed. Neglect attracts graffiti and if a place looks well-maintained it tends to stay that way.

How do you go about planning your walks, and what words of advice can you offer to those who might be interested in organising one?

Lichfield Branch covers a wide variety of canals and I endeavour to visit an area that is less well known or less-frequented. I always try to make the walk circular with some points of historical interest along the way. Typically we will walk through fields or uphill first before returning along the towpath.  My advice is to plan the walk initially on an OS map, and then always walk the route because you never know where the stiles or other obstructions are. If you can find a walk with no stiles you deserve a medal!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with IWA?

It's the cameraderie and the feeling you are helping to conserve the heritage of the waterways.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with their local IWA branch?

Join in. It's great fun and you meet new people. You can do as much as you want for as long as you want.

Thank you to Clive for this interview.  If Clive's experiences have inspired you to get involved take a look at IWA Lichfield's regular walks, talks and events.  Clive's next guided walk is planned for Tuesday 8th March and details can be found on the IWA calender.

Do you have a volunteer in your branch who deserves to be featured in our "Volunteer of the Month" blog? 

We would like to hear about the unsung heroes of IWA, the volunteers who give their time to support the waterways through one of the many different IWA volunteer roles.  If you would like to nominate a Volunteer of the Month please contact Emma Matthars at Head Office.

Tags: Volunteer of the Month