PRESS RELEASE: More volunteers to boost canal restoration projects in 2016

Issue date: 8th January 2016

Waterway Recovery Group will offer 35 canal camps at 16 different sites in 2016, providing places for up to 580 volunteers to help restore some of the country’s best-loved waterways.

The camps, typically each a week long and housed in village halls, have become well-known over the years as rewarding opportunities for experienced volunteers to share their expertise and for newer enthusiasts to learn valuable practical skills while exploring parts of Britain’s rich industrial heritage.

WRG has built up an unrivalled capability in canal restoration over 45 years, and now its volunteers provide the catalyst for significant progress on canal restoration projects in a relatively short space of time. The intensive canal camps support the year-round restoration work of local canal societies and trusts across England and Wales.

Typical WRG projects in 2015 included lock restoration at Bowbridge and Inglesham on the Thames & Severn Canal, Lock 15 on the Grantham Canal and Staveley Town Lock on the Chesterfield Canal, the site of IWA’s 2016 Trailboat Festival.

This year WRG will provide renewed impetus to work including uncovering and repairing a derelict canal basin on the Stover Canal in South Devon, building a new bridge on the Wey & Arun Canal at Compasses Bridge and relining sections of canal  near Newport, Shropshire.

Fifteen different waterways will benefit from WRG canal camps in 2016 and the group aims to increase the amount of volunteer time devoted to restoration projects by more than 10 percent compared to 2015.

Places on some of this year’s canal camps are already fully booked, and WRG is advising potential volunteers to look at the Waterway Recovery Group website as early as possible for a full list of available dates and locations as well as the 2016 Canal Camps brochure.


Photograph: Volunteers on a WRG Canal Camp.

Other photos available on request.

Press Contact

For more information please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office, The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing or phone 07779 090915.

Notes for Editors

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has its origins in waterways restoration working during the 1960s, but formally came into being in 1970. WRG volunteers have helped restore many throughout Britain - one of WRG's largest projects has been the complete rebuilding of the four Frankton Locks and the three Aston Locks on the Montgomery Canal, which passes through the spectacular Welsh Borders.  Other projects include the construction of Over Basin on the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal and more recently the restoration of Droitwich Barge Lock in the Midlands. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, many canals have been reopened, while others are well on the way. Many more have not yet reached that stage - it is up to us, the volunteers, to demonstrate what can be done. Volunteers need no previous experience; all they require is a willingness to get involved and a good sense of fun. For more details please visit WRG's website / @wrg_navvies

WRG is part of The Inland Waterways Association (IWA), a registered charity, leads campaigns to conserve, maintain and restore Britain’s network of canal and river waterways. With a membership of around 16,000, IWA provides a strong voice for waterways users, working with navigation authorities, local and national government and other organisations to keep all our waterways alive.

Photo: WRG volunteers on a Canal Camp.

Press Contact

For more information or a higher resolution image please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office, The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing or phone 07779 090915.