Issue date: 17 May 2011
The opening of Droitwich Canal takes place on the first weekend in July and a water festival will be held to celebrate this event. The festival will feature a display of boats, canal boat trips, water demonstrations, canoeing, music, beer tent and a host of other activities.
The water festival is being organised by Droitwich Canals Trust, Wychavon District Council and Droitwich Spa Area Partnership. It will be held in Vines Park, which is adjacent to the town centre of Droitwich Spa.
The Droitwich Barge and Junction canals were officially closed in 1939, with the last working barge plying the canal over ten years earlier.
Droitwich Canals Trust was formed in 1973 and made substantial early progress on the restoration of the Barge Canal with the assistance of job creation schemes and the canal through Vines Park in the town, the long pound and three locks were largely restored. Restoration of the eastern three locks of the much later Junction Canal, near the junction with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Hanbury Wharf, was completed in 2001, largely funded by an IWA grant from a legacy.
Work to complete the restoration of both canals in Worcestershire started in late 2005 and is now complete. The Waterways Trust launched a successful public appeal for £100,000 for work on the Barge Lock, which connects the two canals in Droitwich. This work was undertaken, largely by the Waterway Recovery Group, and the lock formally reopened in September 2008. The Barge Canal formally opened in 2010, but the Junction Canal was delayed due to a developer pulling out of a housing scheme that would have included a replacement section of canal connecting to the Barge Canal being built.
The total cost of work has been about £11 million, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and other contributors, including IWA.