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Canal Camps offer a holiday with a difference

The Trust is aiming to repeat the success of last year's Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps with another three weeks of working holidays and an exciting new restoration project for volunteers to tackle.

This year's volunteers will be working on a new project, Tickners Heath Road Bridge, near Cranleigh, in Surrey. This large-scale project involves the construction of a foot bridge and road bridge, as well as 100 metres of new canal channel and two mooring faces. The project will be heavily reliant on volunteers, with specialist piling contractors also brought in. The camp volunteers will be involved with site set-up, including the construction of the works compound, temporary road diversion and foot bridge footings, offering the chance to learn a wide range of skills from concreting and form work to surveying and site marking out. 

The camps are set to run from July 4th-11th (already fully booked), July 11th-18th and October 24th-31st and are open to anyone over the age of 18. Each camp costs £70 per week which includes food and accommodation in a nearby hall. No skills are necessary as the camp leader and assistant leader guide volunteers through every task. 

Last year's three Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps over the summer saw some 50 volunteers head to Birltey, near in Bramley in Surrey, to build the first of two lift bridges needed to bring the abandoned section of canal there back to life and create a picturesque canalside walk.

In 2019 the working holidays attracted volunteers of all ages and from across the UK and Continent. They included Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award students completing the residential section of the award, to those looking to increase their skills in construction, and returning Canal Camp enthusiasts from restoration groups KESCRG and Newbury Working Party Group.

Many of those attending were first time volunteers, keen to give their time to canal restoration and learn new skills and meet new people. Oceane Pottier had not attended a Canal Camp before. “I am studying engineering in France and signed up to the camps to get some more experience. I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” she said.

Software engineer Stephen Davis, who led the third week of the camp, has been attending canal camps for 20 years as part of restoration group KESCRG. “Coming to these camps is so rewarding, and I like to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise. We’ve had a great spread of ages and backgrounds here, from chemists, retired lawyers to students.”

To register for this year's Canal Camps, go to https://www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/canal_camps/canal_camp_dates.

 

 

Gill Davies
Date: 
Thursday, March 5, 2020
  • Some of last year's volunteers, who helped build a lift bridge at Birtley in Surrey.
  • Canal Camp volunteers came from across the UK and the Continent.
  • Volunteers get to learn a wide range of skills, guided by experienced team leaders.