You don’t have to be puddled to help restore a lost, local canal… but puddling helps!

The newly built wall and boardwalk at Fosseway Heath Nature Reserve and Wetlands. Image from Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust.

Tom Reid from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust has been in touch to let us know about the progress they’re making at Fosseway Heath, south Lichfield, and to send out an appeal for volunteers to help push the restoration forward.

If you’re unaware of the local canal restoration that’s steadily progressing this excellent blog post by Christine Howles explains more about it. The trust run regular work parties and all are very much welcome, whether you’ve a specialist skill or not!

At the moment, the volunteers are not only beavering away on the route of the lost line between Barracks Lane, Ogley Hay and The Boat restaurant, on the Lichfield Road at Summerhill, but also at several sites, including this one between Wall and Lichfield, Borrowcop on the A51 at Lichfield, and other places along the route of the lost line.

To find out more, please pop along to the Lichfield and Hateherton Canal Restoration Trust website here.

Tom Reid wrote:


An unusual collaboration between Lichfield’s canal restoration trust and a leading supplier of materials to the ceramics industry means the next stage in the creation of a nature reserve and wetlands in the city is set to go ahead.

Stoke-on-Trent firm Potclays are supplying puddle clay for a waterproof lining to the wetlands area being created at Fosseway Heath by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

The Trust began work on the nature reserve last year after receiving an £18,500 grant from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving body funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The restoration of the Heritage Towpath Trail in this area was not possible as the original canal towpath was lost by earlier adverse possession and it was necessary to divert the canal channel and the towpath across a new boardwalk and islands through the new wetlands area.

Trust volunteers, supported by students from Queens Croft School and student volunteers on a bricklaying course from Walsall College, are dismantling and rebuilding  the supporting brick walls to the original southern towpath to allow the Heritage Towpath Trail to be restored along this length of the Lichfield Canal.

Peter Buck, LHCRT engineering director, said: “The Trust tries to use local businesses in the restoration of the Lichfield Canal as an amenity for the community and we are pleased that Potclays are able to help with the supply of puddle clay to line the diverted wetland section of the Lichfield Canal.”

Potclays Ltd director Becky Otter said: “Potclays are pleased to support Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust through the supply of sealant (‘puddle’) clay from our mine near Brownhills, Walsall.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity of supporting the restoration of a piece of Staffordshire heritage in this way.

“Potclays have supplied puddle clay to the Trust in previous years, and for various other civil engineering projects including the building of part of the M6 motorway.

”It’s a source of great pride to us that our materials can be used in this way.”

Meanwhile, on the north side of the original canal channel at Fosseway Heath, a new stone towpath is being restored by Trust volunteers with with the help of visiting corporate volunteer groups from Network Rail and Laing Murphy JV. 

To find out more about these opportunities for volunteering please click here.

Work on the canal restoration continues apace, as seen here at Darnford Moors.

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2 Responses to You don’t have to be puddled to help restore a lost, local canal… but puddling helps!

  1. As mentioned above, they’re a very welcoming bunch.
    If civil engineering and learning to use “big boys toys” is not your cup of tea there are plenty of other activities.
    My volunteering consists of nothing more that wandering about taking photos.
    There is a “Green Team” for the gardeners, a regular need for helpers in various roles at events, etc.

  2. We’d love more people to join us to help out at events too. 🙂

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