An collaboration between a group restoring the Lichfield Canal and a supplier of materials to the ceramics industry is allowing the next stage of the creation of a nature reserve to go ahead.
Stoke-on-Trent firm Potclays are supplying puddle clay for a waterproof lining to the wetlands area being created at Fosseway Heath by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT).
The trust began work on the nature reserve last year after receiving an £18,500 grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving body funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The restoration of the Heritage Towpath Trail in this area was not possible as the original canal towpath had been lost and it was necessary to divert the canal channel and the towpath across a new boardwalk and islands through the new wetlands area.
Trust volunteers, supported by students from Queens Croft School and volunteers on a bricklaying course from Walsall College, are dismantling and rebuilding the supporting brick walls to the original southern towpath to allow the Heritage Trail to be restored along this length of the Lichfield Canal.
Peter Buck, LHCRT engineering director, said: “The trust tries to use local businesses in the restoration of the Lichfield Canal as an amenity for the community and we are pleased that Potclays are able to help with the supply of puddle clay to line the diverted wetland section of the Lichfield Canal.”
Potclays Ltd director Becky Otter said: “P“We’re delighted to have the opportunity of supporting the restoration of a piece of Staffordshire heritage.
“Potclays have supplied puddle clay to the trust in previous years, and for various other civil engineering projects including the building of part of the M6 motorway.
”It’s a source of great pride to us that our materials can be used in this way.”
Meanwhile, on the north side of the original canal channel at Fosseway Heath, a new stone towpath is being restored by volunteers with the help of visiting corporate volunteer groups from Network Rail and Laing Murphy JV.