Notes for the activity To Restore or Not to Restore


By Jan Thomas

To Restore or not to restore

The canals started to fall out of use when the railways were built and road surfaces became better.

Boats were powered by wind and pulled by men and horses before engine power. Engines of various types revolutionised land and water transport, then aeroplanes etc.

Canals that had other uses eg water supply, mainly stayed in use. Use of towpaths for laying various cables and pipelines also kept some canals open. Heritage features and environmental assets kept other canals open.

Increasing leisure time, taking holidays, respect for heritage, wildlife corridors especially in built up areas, all encourage restoration projects. Life can be said to move so quickly and the past disappears in waves of modernisation. Restored canals are living history.

Leisure - walking, walking with prams and dogs, running, canoeing, fishing, boating, cycling.

Heritage - documents, artefacts, buildings, mills, bridges, locks, waterways.

Environmental - wildlife corridor for plants, insects, birds, mammals, fish, invertebrates etc.

Industry - water supply for industry and for drinking, towpath access to work or school or shops, cables and pipes, boats can still transport goods.


Schools can be involved in many ways. We are collecting heritage stories from parents and grandparents to save in the Junction Heritage Project digital archive. Various forms of Art/craft work can be displayed. It may be possible for a mural to be placed under a bridge, for example. We would like to share poems, stories and pictures in a new book. Drama and music can be shared in the community.  Any suggestions for an environmental or heritage project would be welcomed.  Citizenship and sustainability issues could be a project. Again, this is an exciting opportunity for us all in the Stroud Valleys and beyond!

There are many other successful canal restoration projects, regenerating towns throughout the country.

Activity:  To Restore or not to Restore

This page was added by Iris Capps on 23/04/2010.

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