Restoring a canal – a new challenge

Lichfield Canal, Whitsun 1958.

Lichfield Canal, Whitsun 1958 – it will be great to see the line finally restored Can you help? Image from Canal & River Trust archives..

I always receive a really positive response when featuring articles by Christine Howles on behalf of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust here on the blog, which aim to support and assist this great local canal restoration project.

At the moment, the volunteers are currently beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, opening the route for walkers – but there’s a bigger challenge in the offing.

Christine sent me a piece by Tom Reid of the Trust, detailing this which I’m sharing with you below.

The Trust have already put in years of work restoring the lost line and it’s features like Borrowcop Locks, and it has been no small undertaking. But now, they need to raise the sum of £2.1 million to construct a tunnel for the canal under the Cross City Rail Line south of Lichfield – and the cash must be raised by the end of next year.

I’m looking forward to featuring more articles from Christine and Tom on behalf of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust in the future.

In the meantime, I commend you to read the following great post, and consider if you can helping the L&HCRT in their huge project to restore a lost piece of local history.

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The south of Lichfield has seen much development since the canal was drained, and this presents huge challenges for the restoration. Imagery from Google Maps.

Tom Reid wrote:

New Challenge For Lichfield Canal

Despite making excellent progress at many locations along the Lichfield Canal, the Lichfield and Hatherton is facing yet another major challenge.

The long-delayed plans to extend the Lichfield Bypass are finally moving forwards.

Staffordshire Highways intends to install a tunnel under the Birmingham Railway line by the end of next year. This is parallel to the crossing which L&H must also install to get the canal to London Road.

It is not possible to include road and canal in a single tunnel. For operational reasons, it is essential that the canal crossing is installed immediately after the road goes through.

The main issues are gaining a railway possession from Network Rail and ensuring site access before the planned housing developments start.

Chairman of Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Brian Kingshott said: ‘L&H is faced with a project cost estimated to be in excess of £2.1m with a very short time frame to raise the money

‘Assuming the rerouting of the canal at Huddlesford in the wake of HS2 goes ahead this is probably the last potential ‘show-stopper’. All our other major projects will cost considerable sums but are not time-limited by factors beyond our control.’

The trust is in need of donations, either financial or in terms of volunteer time in a number of roles, from digging and bricklaying, to planting and raising funds.

You can also become a member of the trust, join the 500 club or even just buy a promotional gift from the online shop.

If you can help get in touch with the Trust on Twitter @LHCRT1, on Facebook or on their website.

My apologies to Tom Reid, who was initially uncredited for this article – a foolish oversight on my part, for which I apologise to Tom wholeheartedly.

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7 Responses to Restoring a canal – a new challenge

  1. Thanks for this Bob! Sorry about the mix up with the names… that’s the problem with the old fashioned ‘press release’.

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  5. Mrs Joan Johnson says:

    This is a brilliant achievement so far. I personally remember the original canal and the hump back bridges in Shortbutts Lane, where I now have lived fore the past forty years, and the Bridge in Cricket Lane. I would love to see this reinstated and beleive it would be tremendous asset for the City. I await with anticipation the badly needed Southern Bypass to be completed. And I hope this will help the Trust to achieve the next stage of the Canal.

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