Canal Restoration at Malswick
The Malswick Project is very diverse and represents a great opportunity to restore a significant stretch of canal, needing the help of volunteers with a complete range of skills.
As part of the deal to minimise the cost we agreed to undertake construction works across the site, including restoring two existing brick built river bridges, building a substantial new bridge across the same watercourse, creation of various new culverted and gated acesses between fields and provision of several hundred metres of new stockproof fencing and hedges for the landowner.
In early 2020, most of this work is complete, and focus is now moving towards the major task of re-creating about ¾ mile of canal channel and towpath through the site, highly visible alongside the B4215. Other work will include installation of a new bridge across the canal, and re-construction of the former Road Lock, little if any trace of which remains after the canal was infilled for the construction of the Gloucester to Ledbury railway.
Once restored, all of this will be directly accessible from Malswick House. The landholdings adjoin each other, adding to the logic of our focus in this area. This is part of the strategic decision that the Strategic Land Acquisitions Group took several years ago.
The route of the canal will go through two sections of woodland, which will give us the opportunity to create wildlife corridors alongside the route. We enlisted the help of the Worcestershire Wildlife Consultancy at an ealry stage to carry out a detailed survey before any work commenced so that we could minimise any disruption to wildlife.
Please note that the site will not be open to the general public until the canal has been formally completed.
Funding and volunteers required
Our Malswick site is part of H&GCT’s strategic drive for the future acquisition of land. We are building a land bank to provide five to ten years of volunteer work.
Above all this requires money; see Land Fund Appeal, but also for loans, as liquidity is just as important. The current acquisitions at Newent and Malswick have only been able to happen due to the generous support of our members to the Land Fund, and an anonymous donation some time ago of £100,000 helped to fund Malswick House.
As is said elsewhere on this website, this is a major project, with specific funding and volunteering needs.
A considerable amount of new funding will be needed to meet the costs of refurbishing and installing the swing bridge, lock chamber construction, reforming the canal channel and of all the associated groundworks.
In addition, new teams of volunteers will be needed to boost the existing capability, and address a variety of needs including planning and design, programming, management of health and safety, operation of mechanical plant and equipment, and the good old fashioned plain and simple grafting that is canal restoration.