For write ups of the monthly work parties at the four locations in the branch area, as well as other news, see past copies of the branch newsletter, Knobsticks.
IWA’s first Waterway Recovery Group Family Canal Camp of the year took place on the Uttoxeter Canal in the middle of June. 8 young people from around the country, aged between 8 and 14, took part with their families, including two grandparents, and in one case 3 generations of one family.
The young people learnt about and experienced a range of different skills and activities over the weekend – including heritage recording techniques, how to help control the spread of invasive plants, and woodworking skills when they made “bee hotels” as habitats for insect life. The work carried out included vegetation clearance, Himalayan balsam pulling and some careful excavation of a lock site which revealed some previously undiscovered stonework.
This is the third year that Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust has hosted a WRG Family Camp in our IWA Branch area, with the Uttoxeter Canal having been the site for the first ever WRG family camp in 2017.
While half of the young people taking part had been on previous WRG family camps, the weekend was the first introduction to volunteering on the waterways for the others. The families all had a great time learning from each other and making new friends, demonstrating that WRG family camps are a great way to introduce young people to volunteering whilst getting them out in the fresh air and meeting new people.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch hosted the Light Seekers, a Cheddleton church-based youth group, for their regular Himalayan balsam bash on the Caldon Canal, on a warm evening of Monday 3rd June 2019. Some of the young people have been taking part in this annual event, tackling different sections of the Caldon Canal each year, since 2012. This year they returned to the stretch of towpath between the bottom of Cheddleton Locks and Basford Bridge and commented on how free of Himalayan balsam it was compared to previous years, with the whole length being cleared in one session.
Photo caption: “Some of the young people from a Cheddleton youth group on their annual Himalayan balsam bash on the Caldon Canal”.