Canal nature trail restored by volunteers

Waterway Recovery Group working at Whinhill Lock, Driffield

Waterway Recovery Group working at Whinhill Lock, Driffield

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A team of volunteers have pushed the boat out for Driffield Canal’s restoration project.

Volunteers rolled up their sleeves to create a nature trail alongside a stretch of historic waterway.

The scheme was carried out by the Waterway Recovery Group, part of the Inland Waterways Association.

People of all ages and backgrounds from aruond the country gave up a week of their holidays to join the enthusiastic taskforce.

Driffield Canal Partnership invited the group to create the mile-long trail from Whinhill Lock to Wansford, near the town.

The partnership won £2,000 funding from local charity the Horace Taylor Trust, and other donations from Driffield Lions and Driffield Rotary Club, for the work.

It comes after canal enthusiasts stepped-up ambitious plans to complete the revival of the 250-year-old waterway.

Volunteer Chris Finn, 72, a retired engineer, from Beverley, said: “The canal is a great asset to East Yorkshire.

“The new trail will complete a picturesque walk along the waterway from Driffield to the village of Wansford.

“I am a canal enthusiast and have been involved with the group for eight years. I get a lot of enjoyment from joining the working parties.

“We put in a lot of hours, but it is a great way of putting something back into the community.”

Twelve volunteers joined the group’s latest week-long ‘canal camp,’ who also carried out towpath improvements at Pocklington Canal.

They armed themselves with bushcutters, strimmers, and other tools for the work on Driffield Canal.

Student Hari Prabu, 19, of Mansfield, joined the group as part of his involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

He said: “I like the idea of working for the environment,and also helping local communities.

“It is hard, tiring work, but it will be all worthwhile when the nature trail is completed.”

Canal group leader Jenny Black, 31, of Leyton Buzzard, said volunteers had given up holiday time to join the group.

She said: “The group brings random people together to see what they can achieve for the national canals network.

“We are delighted to be working on Driffield Canal this year, and it also a great way of promoting what volunteers can do.”

Work on the trail comes after local enthuusiasts gave Whinhill Lock a makeover, and Driffield Navigation Trust announced a £45,000 project to replace two sets of lock gates at Riverhead, in the town.

Driffield Canal Partnership member Brian Kitt, who is also chairman of the trust, said the trail was quite a prestigious thing for the waterway.

He said: “ We are very grateful to the Waterway Recovery Group for including Driffield Canal in their canal camps this year.

“The canal is not just for boating enthusiasts, but is also a wonderful area for walking in the countryside.

“It is there for the local commuinity and visitors to enjoy, and the trail will allow them to appreciate the wildlife and beautiful scenery along the canal.”

Driffield buisnessman Mr Kitt said they were also grateful to the Horace Taylor Trust and other Driffield organisations for the funding.

“The money went towards providing equipment, accommodation and travel for the volunteers,” he added.

A new wave of enthusiasm to make the 11-mile canal fully navigable for boats again includes the installation of the new Town Lock gates on September 8.

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