Warwickshire Work Parties and Clean-ups

Hatton Work Party Group

Warwickshire Branch organises a number of canal clean-ups and work parties throughout the year. Non-members are welcome.

5th & 6th October 2019 - Work Party Weekend

10:00am. Details to be announced.

13th October 2019 - Canal Clean-up in Leamington Spa

10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Car park at Europa Way, Old Warwick Road island.

15th March 2020 - Canal Grapple in Leamington Spa

10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Location to be announced.

28th & 29th March 2020  - Work Party Weekend

10:00am. Details to be announced.


Previous Work Parties

Leamington Spa Canal Clean-up - Sunday 19th March  2017

IWA Warwickshire Branch held its latest canal clean-up between Tachbrook Road (bridge 41) and Myton Road (bridge 44) on the Grand Union canal in Leamington Spa.  This section is under a mile long and produced an enormous haul of rubbish in just three hours.

Canal & River Trust (CRT), under the leadership of Steve Lambert, volunteer coordinator, supported the event providing the equipment, including a large hopper.  This was manned by volunteers from the CRT volunteer boat moving team.

The organisers were delighted with the excellent turnout of over 70 participants.  In addition to IWA members and volunteers, the numbers were swelled by a local scout group, CRT volunteers, local boaters and residents. It was particularly pleasing to see so many people taking pride and interest in their local waterway and towpath.

The most prolific item pulled out of the silt was shopping trolleys. Over 50% of the 40 plus rescued trolleys were found under bridge 42, the footbridge over the canal near the retail shopping park.  It seems this is a local dumping ground for abandoned trolleys, not all from stores close to the canal.

Haul from Leamington Clean-up 2017

The most unusual item dragged from the canal bed was a fruit machine, minus its cash. Other items included a model of Buddha, two motor scooters, a lawnmower, a vacuum cleaner, a complete cycle path sign, tyres, a cassette player, a brewery advertising stand, traffic cones, roadwork signs, guttering, a settee, metal gang plank, and some steps. This was in addition to the usual haul of over 30 cycles and 28 bags of litter from the towpath and surrounds.

Fruit Machine

Brownsover Canal Clean-up – Sunday 20th March 2016

IWA Warwickshire Branch held a clean-up of the canal and the adjoining towpath on the Oxford Canal in Brownsover, Rugby.

A diverse group of 36 volunteers used grappling hooks to haul a variety of items from the canal bed. These included over 30 shopping trolleys, bicycles, 2 motor- bikes, a patio gas lamp and a sundry mixture of metal and plastic. In addition a litter pick produced over 20 black sacks of rubbish.

Brownsover Cleanup 2016 2


Brownsover Cleanup 2016 3
The volunteers came from the IWA, Warwick University students, U3A and local residents. Canal & River Trust (CRT) provided support through their South East Waterways Volunteer Development Co-ordinator, Miriam Linforth and Rose Narrowboats of Brinklow supplied a work boat.  The work boat was filled a number of times and the accumulated rubbish transported away by CRT.

Brownsover Cleanup 2016 1

Canal Clean-up – Leamington Spa – Sunday 1st March 2015

A diverse group of 60 volunteers used grappling hooks to haul a variety of items from the Grand Union canal bed between Tachbrook Road and St Mary’s Road in Leamington. These included a selection of shopping trolleys and bicycles, two van doors and axles, a wheelie bin, a water butt, three motorcycles, lots of pipe and a sundry mixture of metal and plastic. In addition a litter pick on the towpath produced over 30 black sacks of rubbish.

Part of the Haul
The event, organised by IWA Warwickshire Branch, was attended by volunteers from IWA, Warwick University, St Mary’s Road Residents, the Love Leamington and local residents. Canal & River Trust (CRT) provided support through its Volunteer Leader, Steve Lambert, and three of the recently formed boat moving team. The Grand Union Restaurant gave its support by supplying hot water for the canal-side refreshment point.

As well as filling the CRT boat with rubbish, two large trailer loads of metal were carted away to be recycled.  Local MP, Chris White, made a visit and was very impressed by the volume and variety of the collection.

It is planned to continue the clean-up of the canal and towpath in Leamington in the Autumn concentrating on the section from St. Mary’s Road towards Radford Semele.

Canal Clean-up - Warwick - Sunday, 2nd November 2014

Warwick Clean up November 2014

Despite the damp conditions over 80 volunteers turned out to clean the stretch of canal between Emscote Road and Wedgenock Lane, Warwick.

This successful event was organised by the Warwickshire Branch of IWA with the active support of the Canal and River Trust (CRT). Many tons of abandoned ironmongery were dragged from the canal using grappling hooks. The predominant items retrieved from the canal were bicycles and shopping trolleys, but also included three motorcycles, lengths of carpet, electronic equipment and a safe.

For those wanting a less strenuous task, litter pickers and black bags were supplied. The recent strimming of the vegetation adjoining the towpath had exposed numerous plastic bottles and cans. These were gathered up and loaded onto the hopper boat driven by Steve Lambert the CRT Volunteer Leader.  Students from Warwick University, Army cadets from Stourport, local residents and families gave their assistance for which IWA Warwickshire Branch were very grateful.

Hatton Locks Work Parties

In keeping with our Branch’s commitment to help make boating through Warwickshire as safe, easy and enjoyable an experience as possible for both local and visiting boaters alike Branch members have cleared the off-side access to the locks in the middle section of the Hatton flight.

When the ‘new’ locks were constructed in the 1930s, several in the middle section of the flight were located on the ‘off-side’ - ie. on the far side of the old (narrow) chambers – relative to the towpath.  In order to prevent crews from having to cross the new (wide) gates, and the old (narrow) chambers to get to the towpaths when lock-wheeling, off-side paths were created – as at Knowle, and as often found on other flights on the southern GU.Over the last few years these paths had  become overgrown and neglected. This has meant that not only have ‘shore-parties’ had a longer walk between each lock, but also have often had to cross two pairs of double lock-gates on each lock transit.The Canal & River Trust was very receptive to our proposal for reinstating the off-side access and in mid-February 2012 we set-to and achieved our aim. Our Branch made a commitment to repeat this work as necessary in the future, thereby, hopefully preventing these paths from becoming overgrown and unusable again.

Overgrown offside path at Hatton

Sunday 6th October 2013 saw nineteen people volunteering to help IWA Warwickshire Branch continue this work. With many boats transiting the locks they were able to explain IWA's commitment to clearing the offside of the Hatton Flight. Over the summer the vegetation had grown so it was again encroaching on the offside path. Using hedge trimmers and strimmers supplied by Canal & River Trust the volunteers restored the vegetation line to that obtained earlier in the year. On subsequent work parties, we have extended the clearance further down the flight. A bollard found in the vegetation, will be used to replace one which has been 'enclosed' by a tree on the lower lock landing of lock 31.

In May 2014 the point had been reached where it was necessary to pare back an embankment alongside the lock landing at lock 31 in order to restore a safe pathway.

In preparation for an assault on this section on Sunday 4th May, a CRT hopper was moved from the Hatton depot to the work site on the previous Friday evening. Before the hopper was moved, it was loaded up with supplies and equipment.

Sunday morning was bright, but with a cool wind which helped with the heavy labour of removing the sticky clay from the embankment at lock 31. The clay was bagged and loaded onto the hopper, which was then transported to the other end of the pound, above lock 30.  Here it was unloaded and spread over the rubble on the offside towpath. The rubble had been previously laid as a new towpath surface by earlier IWA work parties on parts of the path which had subsided. To prevent the embankment at lock 31 encroaching on the lock landing in the future, a retaining wall of posts was driven into a trench which was then filled with concrete.

Widening the landing at lock 31

Get Involved!

If you would like to get involved in Warwickshire work parties/clean-ups and events or for further information please email: 
info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk