Hands-on approach to canal maintenance work

VOLUNTEERS are needed to “Adopt a Length” of the Rochdale Canal and help keep it clean and attractive.

The scheme which gets underway this spring, is being run jointly by Calderdale Council, British Waterways and Upper Calder Valley Renaissance.

Anyone interested in getting involved can find out more at a meeting in Hebden Bridge Methodist Church, Bridge Lanes, on Sunday at 3pm.

Volunteer “lengthsmen”, as they were traditionally called, will be asked to regularly inspect their stretch of the canal and its surroundings between Sowerby Bridge and the outskirts of Todmorden.

They will also be asked to carry out simple tasks such as recording wildlife, monitoring plants, identifying heritage features and reporting any problems.

Full training will be provided and volunteers will also be able to carry out small-scale maintenance jobs if they wish.

Calderdale Council’s rural champion, Coun Geraldine Carter, who is a director of the Rochdale Canal, said “I hope lots of people go to Sunday’s event - if the scheme is successful, I would like to see it rolled out across the whole canal network in Calderdale.”

For people who want a more hands-on approach to caring for their canal, there will be a working weekend in April next year where volunteers will be invited to join in with a variety of activities at a number of locations along its length.

The council’s economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins said: “I am delighted that we are working together to preserve Rochdale Canal.

“This is a great scheme where people can gain real hands-on experience, learn new skills, work as a team and play an active part in the future of the canal.”