Waterway users of all types and sizes who enjoy the West Midlands’ navigation are being asked to spare a couple of hours to help spring clean their local waterway between Monday 26th March and Thursday 5th April 2007 as part of British Waterways’ Towpath Tidy campaign. 

An additional two dates have been added to the busy calendar of events, now extending across 2 weeks, these are to be held at Tipton and Brownhills on the 2nd April and Tipton on the 5th April 2007.

Rubbish and litter left behind by the 300 million visitors each year to British Waterways’ canals and rivers is harmful to a wonderful array of waterway wildlife.  During Towpath Tidy, volunteers join forces with British Waterways’ staff to clear litter and remove shopping trolleys, prams, traffic cones and other unusual objects that are sometimes left on the waterways.  All planned Towpath Tidy initiative activity will bring important wildlife benefits as well as improving the appearance of canals in the West Midlands.

For a full list of activities taking place visit www.waterscape.com/towpathtidy and for details on how to take part, please contact Jessica Black on 07710 175247.  To ensure that the event is both fun and safe, volunteers must register with British Waterways in advance.

The important contribution made by volunteers during Towpath Tidy will be on top of more than £100 million that British Waterways spends each year maintaining and improving the nation’s waterways.  British Waterways’ work includes dredging the channel of the canal, repairs to heritage buildings and bridges, lock gate renewals, cutting back trees and maintaining towpaths.

Tony Harvey, General Manager from British Waterways West Midlands, comments: “The waterways are a valuable community resource that we must all look after.  The support we get from volunteers will provide a real boost for the waterways before the start of the main visitor season at Easter.  Last year volunteers across the UK helped us remove an astonishing 147 tonnes of litter and 337 shopping trolleys from the waterways in just a single week.

We want to encourage as many people who use the waterways and want to ‘give’ something back to volunteer to take part in this year’s Towpath Tidy.  It doesn’t matter if they can spare a couple of hours or a whole day everyone is welcome.”

1. British Waterways cares for and maintains the nation’s 2,000 mile network of canals and inland waterways, working in partnership with private companies, local authorities, voluntary groups and other government agencies to protect and enhance the waterways and benefit the communities through which they run.

2. Towpath Tidy activities in the West Midlands include:

Monday 26 March
Stourbridge Canal – Brierley Hill
Wyrley & Essington Canal – Bloxwich/Birchills
Trent & Mersey Canal – Fradley/Derby
Coventry Canal – Coventry

Tuesday 27 March
Stourbridge Canal – Stourbridge Town Arm (Bonded Warehouse)
Wyrley & Essington Canal and Birmingham Canal Mainline – Wolverhampton
Worcester & Birmingham Canal – Hopwood to Alvechurch Marina – Alvechurch
Coventry Canal – Nuneaton)

Wednesday 28 March
Dudley No. 2 Canal – Dudley/Rowley Regis
Wyrley & Essington Canal – Wolverhampton/Wednesfield
Worcester & Birmingham Canal – Worcester/Offerton
Coventry Canal – Mancetter Br 36 to Grendon – Atherstone

Thursday 29 March
Coventry Canal – Amington (Br.68) to Bonehill Br – Polesworth
Grand Union Canal – Camp Hill to Catherine-de-Barnes – Birmingham/Solihull
Bradley Arm – Bradley Workshops to Deepfields Junction – Bilston

Friday 30 March
Walsall Canal – Great Bridge, Tipton
Grand Union Canal – Leamington Spa to Napton

Monday 2 April
Droitwich Canal – Droitwich Spa Town Centre
Walsall Canal – Great Bridge Street, Tipton
Anglesey Branch Canal/ Wyrley & Essington Canal – Anchor Bridge to Pelsall Road Bridge – For full details contact Martin Foxall on 077293 01415 at Brownhills Canoe Centre, Silver Street, Brownhills.  Canadian canoes will be used for litter picking and clearing overgrowth from 9.30am to 3.00pm.  All ages welcome.

Thursday 5 April
Walsall Canal – Bannister Road Bridge, Tipton

For further information about waterway wildlife and enjoying Britain’s canals and rivers visit www.waterscape.com.