Volunteers working on the Lichfield Canal restoration project

A group of volunteers descended on Fosseway Heath to give a massive boost to the restoration of a section of the Lichfield Canal.

Volunteers working on the Lichfield Canal restoration project

Around 70 members of the Waterway Recovery Group from Dundee, Manchester, all over the Midlands, Port Talbot, London, Brighton and one from the Black Forest in Germany, met for their annual reunion weekend, also known as the Bonfire Bash.

The volunteers left a small team at Brownhills Community Centre which was the base for this camp, and they provided the cooked food of hearty breakfasts and evening meals to keep the volunteers fed as they carried out tasks such as clearing vegetation from the restored lock 18 and re-erecting some of the vandalised safety fencing.

Members of their forestry group also set about lifting the crown of old oak trees to ensure they can be retained in the final restoration plans for this section of the canal.

And on the south towpath wall between the new wetlands boardwalks feature and Falkland Road, a large contingent of bricklayer volunteers descended on the building blocks and recycled bricks to extend the towpath wall towards the turning basin at Falkland Road.

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s engineering director Peter Buck said: “The weekend was a great success and much was achieved to give a significant boost to the canal restoration work carried out by our own regular Trust volunteers.

“The goal of fully opening the South Heritage Towpath Trail through the Wetlands Boardwalk for the community moves ever closer.”

Two corporate teams also attended the Fosseway Heath site and made progress on a new section of the restoration of the Valley Nature Trail.

The trust’s own volunteers helped corporate volunteers from Jaguar Land Rover and Laing Murphy JV in creating a new ramp stone access at the west end of the trail near the steps across the canal, and also extended the new Nature Trail some 50 metres towards lock 18 on the north side.

Peter added: “These works complete the path along the Valley Nature Trail on the north perimeter at Fosseway Heath, alongside the railway between Falkland Road and the steps and allow local community safe access, while our restoration continues alongside the completed trail.”