Melton Mowbray Navigation & Oakham Canal
The Melton & Oakham Waterways Society continues to grow with many more members and a newly established Facebook page reaching 1,000 members relatively quickly. This groundswell has in turn led to an extensive dialogue with the local authorities, which is always a good thing.
The outline approval of plans for a new Melton Mowbray Distributor Road revealed that the line of the Oakham Canal at Roundabout 5 of the scheme would be obliterated and the society has made representations, via IWA engineers, of a mitigation strategy. Without this MOWS’ plans for a car-free footpath/cycleway, along the old canal between Melton and Oakham, would need serious reconfiguring.
Elsewhere, with the recent addition of Toad to Mole and Badger, the society now has three workboats with which to carry out the river clearance in and around Melton. Further afield the new owner of the Eye Kettleby Lock site has been contacted and, knowing about the condition of sale that allows restoration, has pledged to work with MOWS in achieving that goal.
Further along the Melton Navigation at Thrussington, the mill owner invited the society to help clear 200 years of vegetation and silt from the lock chamber there. With the help of his plant and equipment, things were looking promising until the first 2020 lockdown put paid to work parties. Despite restrictions, members’ spirits have not been dampened.
Future plans include continual improvement of the waterway around Melton; looking into the possibility of a trip-boat; further lock clearances along the route; extensive footpath work at Syston and Asfordby; and trying to assist Ratcliffe Parish Council in preserving an old boathouse which is thought to predate the navigation.