A new era begins in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, this summer with the completion of a 35-year project to re-open the town’s canals.
Originally the Droitwich barge canal was built by James Brindley and opened in 1771. It served the Droitwich salt industry, linking the town to the river Severn and the world beyond. The Droitwich junction canal was built by R Boddington and opened in 1854 and was one of the last canals to be completed. Both canals declined due to competition from the railways and were officially abandoned in 1939. In 2011, over 70 years on they are open for business once again, albeit of a very different kind!
The dedication and determination of the Droitwich Canals Trust and more recently by the project partners were the catalyst to restoring the canals, which are now set to attract thousands more visitors to the area and bring a major long-term boost to the local economy, generating an additional £2.75m a year in the local community.
As part of the canal restoration, a linear park has been created providing picnic sites, fishing pegs, and new stop off points for boaters, walkers and cyclists with new and improved access points and 26 new visitor moorings. Now these hidden gems and vibrant urban centres are yours to explore. Journey along this newly created 21-mile cruising ring on a voyage of discovery that will unlock the very best this stunning county has to offer.
The Droitwich Canals Partnership has timed the launch with a packed weekend of celebrations to mark the momentous occasion between Friday 1st July and Sunday 3rd July. The weekends Water Festival will take place in Vines Park featuring a display of canal boats and the opportunity to experience a boat trip and canoe taster session. A host of guided walks and cycle rides will be available plus a packed programme of live music in the beer tent including performances by Meet on the Ledge, Tom Hill and the Roving Crows. There will also be craft and trade stalls, information stands and competitions plus demonstrations by the Fire Service plus much much more. The event will coincide with the annual Droitwich Spa Music and Arts Festival with live performances in the town centre on Saturday 2nd July.
For more information on the weekend please visit www.wychavon.gov.uk and if you would like to travel to the festival by boat please contact David Wheeler, Droitwich Canals Trust firstname.lastname@example.org.