Nature and history lovers flock to North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust open day

Visitors at the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust open day. Visitors at the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust open day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014
2:20 PM

Future plans to restore Norfolk’s only canal to its former glory were showcased today.

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Families, nature lovers and history enthusiasts turned out for the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust open day at Ebridge Mill, Happisburgh, near North Walsham.

The event continues tomorrow between 10am-5pm.

As well as learning about work the trust working party hopes to achieve, visitors learned about the water’s history and could have a go on a canoe.

David Revill, working party organiser from Coltishall, said: “The ultimate ambition is to return the canal to how it used to be. Most people don’t know it is here and people are interested in it because of family connections.”

The nine-mile canal, from the River Ant in Antingham to just above Wayford Bridge, was built in 1826.

It was originally used to transport fertiliser, crops, corn and coal but that use declined after the arrival of the railway.

The final wherry sailed on the canal in 1934 and the stretch of water fell into neglect.

Since the trust took over in 2008, reeds and trees which blocked the canal were removed and locks and mills have been restored.

Mr Revill said the difference since the trust took over restoration was “unbelievable” and wildlife was returning to the canal.

It is hoped canoes and boats will be able to sail along the whole nine miles of water.

Walkers, cyclists and birdwatchers can walk along part of it but the trust wants a path along the whole canal to be opened up.

There are currently more than 150 trust members, from as far as New Zealand, and anyone can join and take part in the working party sessions held every two weeks.

For more details visit www.nwdct.org or call Mr Revill on 01603 738648 or Sue Boulton on 01603 429872.

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