Cosgrove: Volunteers maintain one mile of Grand Union Canal

Image source, BBC/Stuart Ratcliffe
Image caption,
Volunteers will carry out jobs along the one mile stretch of canal in Cosgrove

A group of volunteers have adopted a section of the Grand Union Canal in an effort to keep it maintained.

The team from the charity Volunteering Matters will look after a mile (1.6km) stretch in Cosgrove, Northamptonshire.

It is a partnership with the Canal and River Trust, which hopes the scheme will be used elsewhere.

Phil Mulligan, from the trust, said there were "more boats on the water now than at the height of the industrial revolution".

Image source, BBC/Stuart Ratcliffe
Image caption,
The team will maintain the hedgerows around the tow path

He said tow paths were now used for "walks, dog walks, exercise and commuting".

"So really the purpose of canals and tow paths is to carry people as much as it to carry boats," he added.

The volunteers will do things such as painting lock gates, installing signage, improving hedgerows and planting canal side gardens.

Image source, BBC/Stuart Ratcliffe
Image caption,
The Grand Union Canal links London to Birmingham and is 137 miles (220 km) long

The Canal and River Trust cares for 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales and is keen for more projects like this across the region, to ensure waterways are safe and have a sustainable future.

Paul Reddish, from Volunteering Matters, said: "One thing we're certainly finding, off the back of Covid, is volunteering is very much in vogue now.

"Lots more people are interested now in what's going on their doorstep, so we've found a really boost and lift in term of people coming forward wanting to take part in things."

Image source, BBC/Stuart Ratcliffe
Image caption,
It is hoped the scheme will be replicated across England and Wales

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