Fun on the Curly Wyrley at IWA Festival of Water

Fun on the Curly Wyrley at IWA Festival of Water

05 September 2016

15,000 people enjoyed an August Bank Holiday by the water on Pelsall North Common and were treated to entertainments on and off the water at IWA’s annual Festival of Water.

Over 100 boats, many decorated with bunting, lined the Wyrley & Essington Canal, contributing to a truly festive feel.  Historic boats were open to visitors on the junction with the Cannock Extension Canal and floating traders selling jams and cheeses were kept busy as visitors lined up to get a taste of the local waterways on free boat trips offered by Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust.  On Sunday night a procession of illuminated boats lit up the canal.

There was plenty to do on land too.  IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group was busy training the navvies of the future, giving enthusiastic youngsters a taste of digger driving.  Visitors admired the selection of classic cars and shopped for crafts, while children were amazed by a selection of birds of prey, reptiles and mammals as well as waterway-themed craft activities.

The festival brought life to the underused north east corner of the BCN network, with many of the boats arriving as part of an Explorer Cruise organised by Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, and other boats arriving using different routes from across the country.  The festival also raised awareness of Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s plans to restore to navigation the two canals which would connect this little used section of the BCN to the rest of the waterways system.

IWA Events Chairman John Butler said “Feedback from boaters and visitors has been incredible.  This event reflects a huge amount of voluntary effort, leading up to, during and following the event.  I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in making this Festival an outstanding success, including the people of Pelsall, Walsall and surrounding areas who came along and gave the event such a wonderful atmosphere.”

In 2017, IWA’s Festival of Water will be held in Ilkeston on the Erewash Canal.

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