Droitwich Canals Campaign

learning_droitwich440pxDroitwich Barge Lock, which connects the Droitwich Junction Canal and Droitwich Barge Canal in Vines Park, was officially re-opened in 2008. Much of the work to restore the lock was undertaken by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group, and was the culmination of over 30 years' work by IWA to promote restoration of the Droitwich Canals. 

In 1939 Act of Parliament abandoned the canals to become derelict and filled with sewage from Droitwich and the villages. There were continuous press complaints about the mess and flies down the Salwarpe valley.

In 1959 Max Sinclair, an IWA member, started a correspondence campaign in the local press and with the Councils for restoration. This led to considerable opposition from locals and some Councillors.

In 1971, 200 years to the day since the opening, volunteers from the Worcestershire and Birmingham Canal Society started removing over 1000 dead elm trees and fund-raising by selling firewood.

Droitwich Canals Trust was formed in 1973 and was granted long term leases for restoration to progress. In the October over a thousand volunteers held a weekend camp to uncover the Barge Canal to the amazement of many locals who were unaware of the waterways existence.The trust made substantial early progress on the restoration of the Barge Canal, with the assistance of job creation schemes. As a result 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. The restoration was largely funded by an IWA grant from a legacy. 

Work to complete the restoration of both canals in Worcestershire started in late 2005.

The total cost of work was about £11 million, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and other contributors, including IWA. 

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.

In 2010 on September 11th, the Barge canal was opened for a Narrow Boat gathering in Vines Park. In 2011 on July 1st the Junction Canal was re-opened with three days of celebratory concerts and plaque unveiling.

Before & After

The photos below show the area around Vines Park on the Droitwich Barge Canal, before and after restoration.

Canal Facts

The Droitwich Canals consist of the Droitwich Junction Canal and the Droitwich Barge Canal.

The Droitwich Barge Canal runs from the river Severn to Droitwich, and the Droitwich Junction Canal runs from Droitwich to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Hanbury. 

The Droitwich Barge Canal is 5.8 miles (9.3 km) long and has 8 wide locks. 

The Droitwich Junction Canal is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and has 7 locks. 

There are no other connections.