A group of more than sixty canoe enthusiasts has adopted a three mile stretch of the Stourbridge Canal in an effort to keep the canal and towpath looking neat and tidy.
Working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust, the volunteers from the Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club, who are aged between 8 and 70, will look after the canal from Stourton Top Lock to the junction with the Stourbridge Town Arm Canal and then along the Town Arm Canal to Coalbourn Brook Bridge.
The volunteers will be getting involved in a variety of tasks including painting the locks, clearing overgrown shrubs and bushes and keeping the towpath and canal litter free, as well as keeping a watchful eye on the canal and surroundings.
To make getting in and out of the canal easier engineers from the Canal & River Trust have replaced a section of the grassy canal bank with a brick edge to create a much more solid and less muddy access point for the paddlers.
Sue Blocksidge, volunteer development coordinator for the Canal & River Trust, said: “I’m delighted the Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club have adopted this stretch of the canal and will help us keep the waterways looking spick and span. I can already see the difference they’ve made in the short space of time the club have been helping which is great. I hope their efforts encourages more local people to come and visit their local canal and maybe have a fun paddle.”
Mark Harding, from the Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club, said: “The club considers the Stourbridge Canal and the Town Arm as our home waters, and as with any home we like to care for it and keep it clean and tidy, not only for ourselves, but for the rest of the community, who also enjoy the canal environment.
Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the West Midlands Waterways Partnership, said: “We have some of the nicest canals in the country in the West Midlands and it’s brilliant that clubs like the Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club are helping us look after them as well as using them for fun and exercise.”
For more information on the work of the Canal & River Trust visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk