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Can you help restore unique part of Norfolk’s heritage?

Volunteers working at Briggate. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Volunteers working at Briggate. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Archant

Two volunteers are needed to take the restoration of one of only four canal locks in Norfolk to the next stage.

Ebridge Lock. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal TrustEbridge Lock. Pictures: North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust

Dozens of volunteers have spent 18 years revitalising the North Walsham and Dilham Canal, a unique part of Norfolk’s heritage, and today hundreds flock to what has become a new tourism attraction.

But the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust now desperately needs more volunteers.

It is looking for someone to lead the reconstruction of the 1826 lock at Ebridge, and a lengthsman to maintain the water channel and canal banks from Ebridge to Bacton Wood.

Trust chairman Ivan Cane said: “The first task would suit a retired construction engineer or similar, and the second a person able to manage and balance the needs of flora and fauna with those of navigation, walkers, anglers, boaters and ‘gongoozlers’ – canal watchers.”

There are also roles for a work-party co-ordinator, which could be done from home by anyone with organisational skills, machinery operators, an events organiser, and boat-trip crew.

Work parties are currently raising the canal banks above the restored Bacton Wood Lock so that, after 80 years, water can be returned to Bacton Wood Mill.

They are also back at Honing Staithe Cut, clearing it for public use, and have resumed clearance work at Briggate Mill Pond.

Mr Cane added: “One of the pleasures of volunteering on such a worthwhile project is that of meeting people who can now boat, fish, picnic or walk along the canal.

“But, even more, to see the pleasure that the work-party members gain from working with others. Recently a 13 and 81-year-old were removing some tree roots and after an hour of hard work, they succeeded. The older said of the younger ‘He’s a real grafter’. There are not many places where such fantastic working relationships can occur.”

The canal was originally nearly nine miles long and the trust, which was formed in 2008, hopes to restore about 7.5 miles and four of the original six locks.

The canal stretches from Antingham ponds, north-west of North Walsham, to Wayford Bridge, north-west of Stalham.

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