Wednesday, 2 March 2011


British Waterways has said a big thank you to a group of volunteers from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust who has lent a helping hand with the waterway maintenance programme this winter.

Volunteers from the Trust have been getting involved out on the canal using the recently restored Avon Vale workboat. The boat was donated by British Waterways to the Trust, whose volunteers have restored the craft and are now using it to supplement the work British Waterways is doing out on the waterway.

Kennet & Avon Canal Trust volunteer, John Kirby said: “A dedicated group of volunteers from the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust restored the workboat Avon Vale. Now it’s up and running again it’s been very rewarding to get involved with the practical tasks of helping British Waterways out on the canal.

“Having an extra boat is a real help to British Waterways as it means we can get involved collecting any floating litter, and cutting back overhanging branches on the off-side which otherwise might affect navigation. We’ve also joined forces with British Waterways’ engineering team helping them to undertake their annual inspections along the canal.”

The Kennet & Avon Canal, which recently celebrated its bicentenary, requires constant care and attention to ensure the many listed structures, wildlife habitats, locks and bridges can continue to be used now and in the future. To date the volunteers have undertaken 39 days, or 800 man hours undertaking off-side tree cutting, and two full days helping to inspect a length of the canal.

British Waterways’ waterway manager, Mark Stephens said: “It’s great to work in partnership with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust for the benefit of the waterway.

“The volunteers on the recently restored workboat, Avon Vale, deserve a special thank you. They have undertaken vegetation management works on the canal as well as getting involved with our annual inspection, skippering our team of engineers out on the water. Not only does this save time and money, but it also means we get to hear what the volunteers think and listen to their suggestions about managing the canal.”

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