Volunteers Clean Up the Canals of Stoke-on-Trent12 February 2014
Volunteers from as far away as Suffolk took part in a Canal Clean-up on the canals of Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday 9th February. The event, which was organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and supported by Canal & River Trust, saw three miles of canal towpath cleaned up.
Twenty volunteers, several of them new to canal work parties, turned out to pull rubbish out of the canal and litter pick along the towpaths of the Trent & Mersey and Caldon canals. The volunteers included boaters and local residents as well as members of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, Etruria Industrial Museum and CRT’s Towpath Taskforce.
The signing in point was at Etruria Junction, the junction of the two canals, and volunteers worked in all three directions from there, as well as litter picking the area around the arm alongside the historic Jesse Shirley’s Bone and Flint Mill.
Volunteers from the Etruria Industrial Museum provided a very welcome place for a warm up and a break with tea, coffee and biscuits for the hard workers.
The volunteers worked for a mile in all three directions, leaving the canals and towpaths of Stoke-on-Trent considerably cleaner. Some vegetation clearance was also carried out and the dry weather enabled the final bit of milepost painting on the Caldon Canal to be completed. Whilst most of the volunteers worked from the towpath with litter pickers and grappling hooks, three or four volunteers operated CRT’s small aluminium trailable work boat. The work boat enabled the offside banks to be cleared and was used to transport much of the rubbish collected along the summit level to the skip at Etruria.
The skip was full by the end of the day, with all metal items put aside to be recycled. Volunteers recovered some useful objects that could be re-used, this haul included a strong magnet of the type used by boaters to retrieve lost windlasses, and a full spray can of white marking paint.
Approximately forty bags of rubbish were collected in total, as well as a selection of larger objects pulled out of the canal, which included four bicycles, two shopping trolleys, tyres, carpets and some plastic fence panels.