Restoring a lost canal – and creating a new haven for wildlife

An artist’s impression by Mark Smith of the restored canal as it passes Fosseway Heath and approaches old Lock 19 at the ‘railway turn’. Image courtesy of Central Unmanned Aerial Services, Image supplied by Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Just a quick note to point out that the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust are keen to share the news that they’re now creating a new nature reserve along the line of the soon to be restored canal between Wall and Lichfield.

The Trust are working to restore the entire lost canal between Brownhills and Huddlesford, which I’ve documented here previously – you can find out more about that at this post here, or find out how you can volunteer to help in this post here.

Don’t forget, it’s also the Heritage Gathering at Huddlesford soon – the best canal festival in the area – bar none.

The nature Reserve is a great idea in a beautiful bit of countryside, and it’s a project that I wholly support.

The Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust wrote:

A map showing the location of Fosseway Heath. Image supplied by Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Canal Trust To Create New Nature Reserve

A new nature reserve is to be created at Lichfield’s Fosseway Heath as part of the plan to restore the city’s canal.

An £18,500 grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving body funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will enable Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust to develop Fosseway Heath Nature Reserve and Wetlands, at the city’s south-western corner.

The reserve will incorporate a Heritage Towpath Trail along the route of the canal by creating a proper surfaced towpath, giving improved access for all, especially those from the existing and proposed further housing developments near the site.

Drawing of the proposed Fosseway Heath Nature Reserve and Wetlands area. Image supplied by Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

A circuit will provide disabled and push-chair friendly access with boardwalks through a planned wetland area.

The reserve will play an important role in enhancing an established plan to recreate Staffordshire’s rare lowland heathland, providing another stepping stone for improving biodiversity.

LHCRT’s development at Fosseway recognises its importance as a site for linnets, migratory birds and small mammals.

The Trust will be working closely with conservation and wildlife experts.

Work is expected to start in October and will be completed a year later.

Trust chairperson Christine Bull said: “Having joined LHCRT’s Grounds Team because of my passion for improving the environment, I am absolutely delighted that this project, planned by the Trust several years ago, now has the funding to go ahead.

“It will be a real showcase for the fact that canals, whether in water or not, are amazing ‘green corridors’ providing benefits to both wildlife and people.

“We would like to acknowledge the support of Postcode Local Trust and thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for making our project possible with this award.”

Postcode Local Trust, established in 2015, provides opportunities to community groups and charities with grants up to £20,000 to fund projects of local importance which support wildlife areas, sustainability initiatives, local outdoor spaces and citizenship volunteering programmes.

If you want to find out more, you can get in touch with the Trust on Twitter @LHCRT1, on Facebook or on their website.

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