Issue date: 5 July 2011
Historic narrow boats Atlas and Malus were amongst the first vessels undertaking a test run prior to opening of the restored Droitwich Canals (picture right: outside Ladywood Lock Cottage on the Barge Canal). IWA started off the Canals' restoration in 1973 with a WRG Big Dig and formed Droitwich Canals Trust to promote the restoration. IWA subsequently loaned money to buy land and a trip boat, and helped Droitwich Canal Trust lease Droitwich Barge and Junction canals from Wychavon District Council. Throughout the long years of restoration, IWA arranged work parties through WRG, gave grants and arranged engineering advice, as well as arranging the insurance for the canal and the works on it, until BW took over responsibilities.
A whole weekend of celebrations marked the completion of the Droitwich Canals on Friday 1 July 2011, 72 years after they were officially abandoned. This event marked completion of the restoration of the waterways, the culmination of nearly forty years of community-led campaigning and volunteering to bring the canals back to their former glory.
240 years after they first opened on 27 June 1771, the newly restored waterway is the final link in a brand new ‘cruising circuit’ – the Mid Worcestershire Ring. The Ring allows boats, cyclists and ramblers to make a 21-mile circular journey through some of the UK’s most beautiful and historic countryside, from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to the River Severn, through the city of Worcester and back to Droitwich.