Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal
In 2022 the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust volunteers were able to get out a lot more. The trust started the year with planning permission approved for the new stretch of canal at Malswick. The behind-the-scenes work continued with discussions with WRG for a camp in the summer to help with the digging out of 600m of canal, developing wetland and wildlife areas and a 1.2km circular walk. The three camps took place over a really hot part of the summer and the WRGies worked so hard, but conditions meant the work wasn’t as far forward as hoped at the end. Also Covid reared its ugly head, and several days were lost when the first week’s camp was hit.
Prior to this, the H&G team at Malswick had completed the laying of the small culvert and completed a lot of the preparation work for the large culvert, which was finished off by volunteers from KESCGR.
In late February 2022 news came of the opportunity to purchase some land that would allow for the extension of the Malswick site. If buying a house is hard work, buying land is a lot harder but, hopefully, by the end of 2022, there will be some good news and the deal can finally be closed. The trust gave a big thank-you for the response from both membership and volunteers for helping to fund the purchase.
At the Over site, work continued towards the development of Mill Barn. The basin has been used by many groups: the Brownies visited, the fire service practised their boat skills, Girl Guide groups attended for some canoeing and a third party organised yoga paddleboarding sessions.
To celebrate the trust’s 30th year in September, an open day was held for members and families. There were boat trips and refreshments on a lovely sunny warm day. The pubs owned by the trust at Over and Malswick were fully open after Covid and, while trading is tough, they are making headway and it is hoped they will continue to be successful.
In Herefordshire, discussions have been taking place with the county council about the protected route through the city of Hereford as part of the council’s overall plans. The development of a housing estate at Ledbury, north of the railway viaduct, will now include a rerouted section of canal from the Bromyard road to the viaduct, and discussions are taking place about how to restore this part of the canal. Other sites in Herefordshire continue to be improved, including further opening up of the towpath. Talks are ongoing with the locals around Aylestone Park about a community basin that would help support local activities and also be a great location for narrowboats as a stop-off prior to the trip into the city. All sites were maintained and ideas for the future discussed.
H&GCT continues to focus on rebuilding a sustainable canal from Hereford to Gloucester, with the emphasis on ensuring there is a built-in income to keep the canal maintained once it is restored.