UK. Bill Bryson backs campaign to clean up West Midland canals

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Bill Bryson, best-selling author and President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is urging the people who use the canals and rivers in the West Midlands to tackle the problem of litter on their waterways. Volunteers are needed to put on their boots and take part in British Waterways’ Towpath Tidy 2009 – coordinated activity days which will take place along targeted stretches of canal between Thursday 26th and Sunday 29th March 2009.

Coventry Canal - Coventry Basin to Hawkesbury Junction and at Fradley Junction
Trent and Mersey Canal – Fradley Junction
Ashby Canal - Sutton Cheney
Birmingham Main Line Canal - Icknield Port, Birmingham
Worcester and Birmingham Canal – Hopwood
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal – Cambrian House, Edward Street, Birmingham
River Severn - Stourport

Wolverhampton Main Line Canal - Wolverhampton 21 Lock Flight
South Stratford Canal- Lapworth
Grand Union- Hatton
Grand Union- Leamington Spa
Blythe Water- British Waterways Fishery
Droitwich Canal- Droitwich

Dudley no.1 Canal - Merry Hill
Stourbridge Canal – Stourbridge 16 locks

The volunteer effort, ahead of the main summer visitor and boating season, will bring wildlife and environmental benefits as well as providing a welcome boost to the year-round work carried out by British Waterways.  Everyone is welcome, with activities ranging from litter picking, painting graffiti removal, to cutting back towpath vegetation.

As part of its Stop the Drop campaign, CPRE is supporting Towpath Tidy by involving its local branches and other litter picking groups registered on Litter action. Bill Bryson comments: “Britain’s waterways are of vital importance, providing everyone with the opportunity to experience their cities, towns and countryside from a unique and tranquil perspective.  It’s a disgrace that some people choose to treat their waterways as an open litter bin or as a place to dump their discarded waste.  I urge everyone who wants to get this country clean to join in and tidy a towpath.”

Tony Harvey, British Waterways West Midlands, general manager, adds: “Our local canals are enjoying a long overdue renaissance, often used and enjoyed more than at any other time in their 200-year history.  Volunteers have become essential to the waterways ongoing success and Towpath Tidy is an enjoyable and rewarding occasion when we join forces with individuals and organisations to support wildlife and improve the appearance of the network for everyone.”

Lynda Waltho MP for Stourbridge and Deputy Minister for the West Midlands is supporting this year’s Towpath Tidy and commented: “The West Midlands Waterways are a vital part of our heritage and local people are rightly proud of them. I'm really pleased to be able to get to work alongside local volunteers, to help tidy the towpaths, to make them accessible for even more people to use to keep fit and enjoy our beautiful green corridors.”    

In addition to CPRE, Towpath Tidy 2009 is supported by Encams’ The Big Tidy Up campaign, the leading inland waterways charity the Inland Waterways Association as well as the local canal society or trusts.  To find out how you can get involved please contact Murray Woodward, British Waterways volunteer coordinator.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 March 2009 )