PRESS RELEASE: 55 Volunteers Clean Up Over 5 Miles of the Erewash Canal

Issue date: 3rd April 2014

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch joined forces with the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECP&DA) and Canal & River Trust (CRT)  to carry out a canal clean up on the Erewash Canal on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th March. The two-day event left the canal between Cotmanhay and Sandiacre, a length of about 5.5 miles, much improved after litter from the towpath and submerged and floating rubbish from the canal was removed.   

CRT supplied two workboats, with staff to operate them, on both days.  A tug and pan travelled down the canal to collect bags of litter and items of rubbish pulled out of the canal by volunteers working ahead on the towpath. This was followed by the workboat Bollin with volunteers on board picking out waterborne litter and rubbish from the offside of the canal. As the team passed through each lock, volunteers also cleared debris from the bywashes.    

ECP&DA volunteers took the lead on the Friday, when about thirty volunteers, including some IWA members, turned out to pull rubbish from the canal between Cotmanhay and Gallows Inn Lock. A litter pick was also carried out and by the end of the first day over fifty bags of rubbish had been collected. These bags, along with the rubbish collected on the work boat Bollin during the day, filled the skip at Gallows Inn Lock.

On Friday a very shiny motorbike was pulled out of the canal. The Police were notified, came to take it away and mentioned that it had only been missing for a week.  Also retrieved from the canal was a trophy with the figure of a boxer. A bit of detective work has discovered that it was presented by the Wolverhampton Amateur Boxing Club.  A spokesman for the club said that they were “intrigued and delighted” to hear of the find, and looked forward to the trophy being returned to them in due course.

On the Saturday, IWA members formed the majority of the twenty-five volunteers who turned out for the second day of the clean up, where the same methods were used to deal with the submerged rubbish, waterborne litter and towpath litter between Gallows Inn Lock and Sandiacre Lock.  

The usual assortment of shopping trolleys, bicycles and tyres were pulled out of the canal, along with much unidentifiable and miscellaneous rubbish. At one point on the Saturday afternoon, a small group of tenacious volunteers collected some eight bags of rubbish out of just one blocked culvert by Pastures Lock. By the end of Saturday when the rubbish from the work boat had been transferred to the pan, it was pretty much full with all the rubbish from the two days’ work.  

IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch Chairman, Mike Snaith, said “Over the years much rubbish has been thrown or fallen into the Erewash Canal, and this event was an opportunity to remove some of the rubbish and tidy up the surrounding towpaths ready for the Spring, to encourage more people to get out and about on the canal towpath. It was great to see so many people of all ages enjoying themselves in the sunshine while carrying out such a worthwhile activity”.  

Wayne Ball, Volunteer Co-ordinator for CRT, said “These volunteers have helped to make a huge difference to their local canal and we’re really grateful for all their hard work. By using a workboat, it was possible to give the canal a really good spring clean and get into all those hard to reach places. We had some interesting finds over the course of the weekend and it just goes to show that you never quite know what’s lurking beneath the surface. We’d love to see more people getting involved with their local canal and making it an even more special place for people and wildlife.”



Notes for editors:

About The Inland Waterways Association

Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association
The ECP&DA was formed in 1968 in response to the threat of closure of the Erewash canal by the British Waterways Board. Some of the original participants are still involved in the association, which is still active today.

Canal & River Trust
The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales.  We are among the largest charities in the UK, maintaining the nation’s third largest collection of Listed structures, as well as museums, archives, navigations and hundreds of important wildlife sites.

We believe that our canals and rivers are a national treasure and a local haven for people and wildlife. It is our job to care for this wonderful legacy – holding it in trust for the nation in perpetuity and giving people a greater role in the running of their local waterways.

For further media requests please contact:
Alison Smedley, Branch Campaign Officer, The Inland Waterways Association
Phone 07779 090915 Email
Stephen Hardy, Communications Manager, Canal & River Trust
Phone 01636 675703/07920 077190 Email

Download Image, Volunteers on the Erewash Canal (photo by Alison Smedley), from Flickr


IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
About IWA
Volunteers restoring the waterways. The Waterway Recovery Group is part of IWA.
About WRG

Volunteers on the Erewash Canal, 29th March 2013 (photo by Alison Smedley)
Download from Flickr