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#Loveyourwaterways

Our waterways act as green corridors in towns and cities

Graham says:

“What I love about the waterways is the fact that I can move on when I want to. The scenery is always different too. I also like how people with their dogs or out for the day will stop and talk.”

Mark says:

“It’s a very different way of seeing your own country. It’s also the fastest way I know of slowing down.”

Water adds value Here are just some of the reasons our waterways deserve to be celebrated... • Economic benefits It’s clear that canals and rivers deliver on strengthening the economy by encouraging more visitors to the area and increased leisure activity. Well-loved canals can also stimulate regeneration and development projects. 
 • Social benefits Improvements in wellbeing, in terms of physical and mental health, should not be underestimated as a benefit of being by the water. The fact that many canals are level means they can be especially useful to those getting back into exercise. Consider, too, how volunteers can become engaged with caring for their local waterways. Canals can be an excellent focus for community activity and help develop civic pride. • Environmental and heritage benefits Well-maintained waterways have been found to improve bio-diversity of whole areas, bringing wildlife into the heart of our communities and acting as green lungs within towns and cities. Meanwhile, the use of towpaths by commuters has been shown in evaluations to have led to decreases in traffic fumes, pollution and congestion. Championing canals also frequently secures the conservation and new uses of important heritage buildings and structures. These developments offer economic benefits but also engender a sense of local pride and a connection with local history.

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Andrew says:

“I love cruising on the waterways. It brings me back to when I was a kid with open fires. Instead of just sitting back and turning switches you’re actually having to do something to generate electricity and heat. I shall carry on boating as long as I possibly can.”

Karen says:

“I’ve fallen in love with my canal over the past ten years. I’m lucky enough at the moment to be living right beside it. I love seeing all the wildlife and all the activity of the waterways with the boats going up and down.”

Tell us why you love your waterways As part of the campaign, IWA is keen to hear the countless reasons our canals and rivers hold such a special place in people’s hearts. We’ve been out on the towpath to record just some of the ways the waterways are bringing benefits to the people who use them, and there’s more feedback still in the short video we compiled. View it at youtube.com/ watch?v=xHd6kvU1s1M. We’d love to discover further examples of what makes the system so special: share your waterways fan mail with us on social media using the hashtag #LoveYourWaterways

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IWA Waterways Magazine - Summer 2017