Volunteers give the canal a spring clean

Volunteer Gavin Roberts from Calder Future
Volunteer Gavin Roberts from Calder Future

Volunteers have sprung into action to improve their local stretch of canal during a Big Spring Clean at Mearclough near Sowerby Bridge.

A crew of twelve volunteers and staff from British Waterways and environmental group Calder Future spent the day clearing the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

They filled 30 bin bags and found items including a tyre, bin lid, caravan toilet cassette, a rusty bike and plastic fencing from past roadworks.

Volunteers included local residents, boaters, conservation and waterways’ enthusiasts, as well as local Sowerby Bridge Councillor Dave Draycott (Lab).

As well as clearing litter, the team cut back brambles and ivy and reinstated bankside coping stones and path edges along the historic cobbled towpath.

Local volunteer Diane Richardson said, “This is a very popular section of the canal for walkers, joggers and cyclists, as well as for boaters but it needed a little TLC.

“Unfortunately it had suffered from littering and fly-tipping and some of the trees and bushes needed tidying up.

“It was fantastic to work together and make the canal more attractive for wildlife and local people.”

The clean-up was also being filmed by Voluntary Action Calderdale as part of a future video to promote volunteering opportunities across Calderdale.

British Waterways task leader Lucy Dockray was interviewed, together with a number of volunteers – who all spoke enthusiastically about their volunteering.

The video will available to the public on the VAC website and on YouTube.

Lucy Dockray said: “It was great to see so many people willing to give up their Sunday to help clean up their local canal.

“With the waterways set to move to an exciting new charity, the Canal & River Trust, in the summer volunteer groups such as this will have an increasingly active role in caring for their local canal.”

The next canal clean-up will be on March 30.

Email Lucy.Dockray@britishwaterways.co.uk for details.