A new nature park featuring an outdoor classroom, ponds, walking trails and aquatic plants is due to be created near the Lune Aqueduct in Lancaster.
The Canal and River Trust, which recently undertook a £2m refurbishment of the aqueduct, has managed to secure £40,000 from the Lancashire Environmental Fund for the new Lune embankment habitat enhancement scheme.
The site will link a new car park in Caton Road with the river Lune Millennium cycleway and the aqueduct.
David Hennessey, project officer from the Canal and River Trust, said: “We’re really excited about this project and will begin work on it in May this year.
“It will be delivered primarily by local volunteers and students from Central Lancaster High School and once complete, will be a great place for the local community to visit and for school pupils to use as a learning resource.”
Mr Hennessay said that an interactive heritage trail along the canal running through Lancaster would also be completed by the end of April.
“Last year we appointed interpretation consultants, inHeritage, to undertake a research project to gather memories from local people regarding the Lancaster Canal and Lune Aqueduct,” he said.
“They interviewed lots of people and recorded these recollections, which will soon be featured on an audio trail running along the Lancaster Canal through Lancaster.”
The Canal and River Trust was set up last summer as a charity, and replaced the largely government funded British Waterways and The Waterways Trust in England and Wales. The charity, which is the third largest owner of Listed structures in the UK with 2,727 buildings under its remit, was set up to care for England and Wales’ legacy of 200-year-old waterways, effectively holding them in trust for the nation.
It has responsibility for 2,000 miles of canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs, along with museums and archives.
This year, the charity is focusing on a range of community activities and events, including the following in Lancaster:
On Saturday April 20, at 7am, there will be a free guided nature walk with wildlife expert, Russ Hedley, who will be pointing out and discussing the different nature groups found along the Lancaster Canal, including birds, plants, flowers, insects and mammals.
The walk will take approximately three hours and there will be another walk on Sunday June 16 at 7am.
On Bank Holiday Monday May 27 and as part of the Lancaster Unlocked weekend, which this year has a Georgian Theme, there will be three free boat trips throughout the day from the centre of Lancaster to the Lune Aqueduct.
Contact Lancaster Canal Boats on 01524 389410 to book places. Pre-booking is essential.
There will also be canoe taster sessions during the school summer holidays, and guided bat walks, run in conjunction with North Lancashire Bat Group, in August and September.
A canal festival – Wild Wonders of the Waterway – is also being organised for Monday October 28 and Tuesday October 29.
Mr Hennessey said that due to the success of last year’s Phoenix from the Ashes festival, The Canal and River Trust was again teaming up with Dukes Theatre to run community engagement activities which will form the basis of a production at the Lune Aqueduct in October.
He added: “We are also running volunteering events every second Thursday, which will focus on conservation tasks, repairs, vegetation clearance etc along the canal and we are also currently recruiting education volunteers, who will lead primary school classes on trips along the canal and to the Lune Aqueduct.”
*For more information or to get involved contact David Hennessey on 07500 606030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.