March 2016 Work Parties

Brownsover Clean Up
Created on 18/04/2016

Photo: Volunteers at IWA Warwickshire's Spring Clean-Up at Brownsover

Spring slowly made an appearance during March and much work has focussed on completing vegetation clearance before the bird nesting season begins. The Clean for The Queen campaign by Keep Britain Tidy was supported by many branches who were out litter picking their local waterways with the help of local societies and other groups. Read on to find out more about what IWA volunteers have been doing across the branches:

Burslem Port Clean for The Queen Success

On Saturday 5th March IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch, community group Middleport Matters and Canal & River Trust volunteers joined forces to undertake a Clean for The Queen day along the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath and streets of the district.

CRT supplied a small boat and trained volunteers used it to remove floating rubbish along the canal whilst Burslem Port volunteers picked litter along the line of the Branch Canal. A group of young people from the YMCA were dispatched along the towpath and the local Boys Brigade worked outwards from Middleport Park.

A total of 53 volunteers collected around 70 bags of rubbish in a very busy and successful day. Good publicity was generated for Burslem Port and Middleport Matters with the cleanup prominently featured in local media, including a live Radio Stoke interview at the start of the day.
Clean for The Queen MiddleportPhoto: Rubbish removal from Burslem Arm

Two Days Cleaning for The Queen in Chester

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch spent two days litter picking for the Clean for The Queen campaign in Chester.  The first litter pick on Friday 4th March attracted four volunteers who walked from Christleton to Chester city centre collecting five bags of litter. They were welcomed at the Waitrose Cafe who supplied coffee and cakes.

The second litter pick on Sunday 6th March attracted 14 volunteers altogether, including local Scouts, Cubs and Beavers.  The weather proved to be cold, wet and windy but the branch had great support from those who came and did their bit and they managed to collect 12 bags of litter in total.
Chester CFTQPhoto: Volunteers in Chester brave the cold and wet weather

Boating Visibility Improved on Oxford Canal

Banbury Canal Partnership, supported by IWA Oxfordshire Branch and CRT held their first work party of the year on Tuesday 15th March.  Despite the freezing easterly wind, ten hardy volunteers turned out to clear offside vegetation near Twyford Wharf on the Oxford Canal in order to improve boat visibility on the bends. CRT provided a work boat and tools. Overhanging trees and brambles were cleared and a vandalised fence from a weir further upstream was recovered from the water. It was a good start to the series of planned work parties along this stretch of the Oxford Canal over the summer months.
Banbury Work PartyPhoto: Clearing offiside vegetation on the Oxford Canal

IWA Manchester Branch Plant Hedgerow

Nine volunteers from IWA Manchester Branch spent a day carrying out planting for their hedgerow project at Lock 4 on the Ashton Canal.  They put in a hard day's work, planting half hawthorn and half Rosa canina - an impressive 500 plants in total.  This will not only provide a valuable wildlife corridor but also improve the aesthetics of the area around Lock 4.
Planting ManchesterPhoto: Planting hedgerow plants at Lock 4, Ashton Canal

Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Towpath Improvements

Essex Waterway Recovery Group spent the first weekend in March working on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, supported by a small contingent from IWA Chelmsford Branch on the Saturday. Volunteers spent the weekend continuing the towpath surfacing started by the WRG Canal Camp held two weeks earlier at Paper Mill Lock. The group managed to complete a large amount of work despite the occasional wheelbarrow with a flat tyre, and the towpath has now been surfaced for about half the distance between Paper Mill Lock and Baddow Lock.

Congleton Clean for The Queen

On Friday 4th March a group of volunteers from the regular monthly IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch's Congleton work party met for a special Clean for the Queen tidy up. Despite continual rain, the willing group of volunteers cleared a stretch of 1.5 mile stretch of the Macclesfield Canal from Congleton Wharf to Bridge 72. Although litter picking is a regular part of the monthly work parties the group tackled some more difficult areas that had been an eyesore for several months. 
Congleton Clean for the QueenPhoto: Congleton volunteers litter picking

West Country Branch Clean for The Queen

IWA West Country Branch had a busy March, starting with their contribution to the Clean for The Queen campaign. A large group of around 30 volunteers from various local groups and staff from the nearby Tesco branch spent the day litter picking around Frenchpool Weir in Taunton. They collected around 30 bags of rubbish in total.

At other work parties during March, IWA volunteers also completed a deep vegetation cut at Fordgate car park and undertook four more litter picks along the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Volunteers finished the month by painting some the dockside fixtures at Bridgwater.
West Country March 2016Photo: Volunteers gather for Clean for The Queen litter pick

Oxford Canal at Brownsover gets a Clean-up

On Sunday 20th March IWA Warwickshire Branch held a clean-up of the Oxford Canal and the adjoining towpath in Brownsover, Rugby. A group of 36 volunteers used grappling hooks to haul a variety of items from the canal bed. These included over 30 shopping trolleys, bicycles, two motor- bikes, a patio gas lamp and a sundry mixture of metal and plastic. In addition a litter pick produced over 20 black sacks of rubbish.

The volunteers came from the IWA, University of Warwick students, U3A and local residents. CRT provided their support and Rose Narrowboats of Brinklow supplied a work boat.

The work boat was filled a number of times and the accumulated rubbish transported away by CRT. The Branch had great support from the local residents and hope this activity has raised awareness of this green corridor running through their town.
BrownsoverPhoto: Some of the rubbish pulled out of the Oxford Canal

IWA Peterborough Branch Complete Their Winter Work Parties

IWA Peterborough Branch in partnership with the Middle Level Commissioners completed four full work party days clearing in excess of 100 metres of vegetation along the Forty Foot Drain in Cambridgeshire. This was the first time the branch had held work parties and they were a considerable success, attracting over ten volunteers on each day, who worked extremely hard clearing dense undergrowth and brush. The culmination of their efforts was to take a convoy of boats up to Horseways Lock to moor along the banks they had just cleared for their annual Easter cruise. Although brush clearance has now stopped to allow for the bird nesting season, there is further work to be carried out clearing the river bed of obstructions under a couple of nearby bridges. All in all, a successful first effort and the branch will be resuming work parties in the autumn.
IWA Peterborough Mar 2016Photo: Credit Mike Daines - removing trees from along the Forty Foot Drain


In addition to these work parties, in February, IWA Lincolnshire Branch supported the Sleaford Navigation Trust, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch worked on the Uttoxter Canal and Cheshire Locks. IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch supported Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society at their monthly work party weekend at Tardebigge Lime Kilns and held their own work party on the Staffs & Worcs CanalIWA Northampton Branch held their twice monthly work parties on the Northampton Arm. IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch continued their festival preparation at Eldonian Village, IWA Ipswich Branch supported the River Gipping Trust at their regular work parties throughout the month.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with IWA? Take a look at IWA's information on volunteering.  To see if there's a work party planned near you take a look at the IWA Events Calendar.


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