Middlewich Branch – volunteers get cracking The Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union has seen a burst of volunteering activity during the spring and early summer, as three separate projects got under way. At Wardle Lock, on the ‘shortest canal in the country’ (the Wardle Canal at 154ft), IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch teamed up to promote a series of work parties to enhance the lock and its immediate surrounds.
Off-side clear at Wardle Lock
Photo: Roger Evans
Unfortunately we were forced to cancel the third event at the end of May due to bad weather and unsafe working conditions, but earlier we managed two well-
attended and productive work parties. The teams painted the woodwork and metalwork of the gates, as well as various fences and signs. In mid-May a second coat of white was put on the balance beams, and some railings by the next bridge were also painted. However, the principal job was to expose and tidy-up the offside bank below the lock. Such a massive change was made that it looks like a different place! At the other end of the Branch, the Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch Adopters (SUMBA), a new group formed by moorers at Aqueduct Marina, Church Minshull, have adopted the stretch of canal from Barbridge Junction to Bridge 11 and started to hold regular monthly work parties.
SUMBA's haul of large litter
Photo: Graham Russell
So far, in addition to litter picks at Minshull and Cholmondeston locks and between Shroppie Fly Paper