After many years of working on whichever lengths became available, things are starting to come together on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal...
There comes a time in many of our more challenging, longerterm canal restoration projects when a gradual change becomes apparent: from what might seem like a ‘scattergun’ approach to choosing worksites, to something that looks more obviously like a plan.
Note the words ‘might seem’ and ‘looks’. I’m not saying that there isn’t lots of planning going on. It’s just that, in the early years, with a derelict canal that was sold off to dozens of different landowners after it closed, most of whom will be frankly pretty sceptical about the prospects of a bunch of amateurs reopening a waterway that was abandoned before their grandparents were born, it isn’t easy to persuade them to even let the canal society on to their land to do some initial clearance work. But that changes. From a mere handful of available worksites, necessitating a ‘work where you can’ attitude with volunteers clearing the odd lock or patching the odd bridge at what looks like random selection, a successful canal restoration group gradually gains the confidence of more landowners and local authorities through successful early projects, and
The restored Ell Brook Aqueduct, and (inset) what it looked like before restoration began