Restoration group needs help to reopen historic canal

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Ph

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Photo: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust - Credit: Archant

A restoration team looking to re-open a historic canal is looking for help as it hopes the waterway will see traffic once again by Spring 2021.

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Ph

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Photo: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust - Credit: Archant

North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust needs additional volunteers to help with restoration work, as they re-water the mile and a half long stretch of canal between Spa Common and Swafield, on the eastern edge of North Walsham.

The trust has been working on the waterway’s restoration since 2008, is aiming to re-fill the stretch of canal, popular with walkers and anglers, by next spring so that a three-mile continuous stretch of navigable water will become available for small boats, canoes and the trust’s own tour boat, with plans to restore it further over the coming years.

Volunteering with the Trust is currently set to resume after December 2 and the group is asking more people to join them, particularly tradespeople such as chainsaw operators, scaffolding experts and carpenters.

Trust media officer, James Warner-Smith, said: “Volunteering with the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust is a great way to spend time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful setting of our local canal.

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Ph

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Photo: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust - Credit: Archant


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“We have Covid secure procedures in place and practice social distancing but, once our work parties resume in December, it remains a great way to join with other people and work on a community project.

“The goal of re-watering the canal in 2021 is hugely exciting and seeing this local stretch of canal restored once more will be incredibly rewarding for all of the volunteers involved.”

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The group currently has volunteers of all ages, ranging from 18 to 80, with no qualifications required to join.

The canal banks between Swaffield and Bacton Wood are currently being raised in preparation for the re-watering, while lock gates near Spa Common have been fully restored and upstream spillways designed for flood prevention have also been repaired.

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Ph

North Walsham and Dilham Canal trust is looking for volunteers to help reopen a stretch of water. Photo: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust - Credit: Archant

Jobs on the canal range from reed cutting and bank repairs, to helping monitor wildlife and flora.

Boating officer, Graham Pressman said: “Volunteering with the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust is a great way to contribute to the environment of our town and surrounding countryside.”

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