Canal and River Trust East Midland Forum

Canal and River Trust East Midland Forum

Canal and River Trust - East Midlands Waterway Forum (North)

9th March 2020, Newark Town Hall.

CTC East Midlands and Cycling UK Lincolnshire were invited to the annual Waterway Forum for the North of the East Midlands. The aim was to invite as many representatives from across the community as possible, from cycling groups, walking groups, boaters and local businesses.

It was an opportunity for the Canal and River Trust to discuss its priorities and promote the use of the network and improve the services on offer. The forum (North) covers the River Witham, Fosdyke Canal, Grantham Canal, River Trent and Upper Trent.

22 delegates had booked to attend the meeting, sadly only 5 were able to attend. Representing CTC East Midlands and Cycling UK Lincolnshire was Tim Newbery, whilst Hugh McClintock represented ‘Pedals’: Nottingham Cycle Campaign.

There are almost 300 miles of canals, rivers and waterside routes across the East Midlands. “Adding water to your cycling routes makes all the difference” is a key slogan being promoted by the Canal and River Trust although it was highlighted that the core purpose of the trust is ‘care and maintenance’ which consumes the greater part of the budget and most of the volunteers time and effort.

There were presentations of the work that had been carried out during the past 12 months including the £12,000 spent on towpath improvements at Saxilby, facilities for Glamping at Foxton, access improvements to the towpaths in Nottingham City Centre and work being carried out to improve facilities in Loughborough.   

Future projects will include improvements to car parking facilities at Torksey and Boston. It was noted that there are ongoing works to make access to the towpaths easier for bicycles and wheelchairs for example. The aim is to widen the metal barriers or remove them altogether in a similar manner to Sustrans on their network, to make the towpaths accessible to everyone.

The last hour of the meeting consisted of an ‘activity feedback’ open discussion session to revue what the Canal and River Trust is doing well, what can be improved and how to attract new users. It was agreed that better communication is required, via the website and social media outlets, especially to alert users of works being carried out on the waterways and towpaths and when closures or diversions had been set up. It was acknowledged that the towpaths are used by a diverse range of users each with their own needs and that all users should be respectful of each other. Common courtesy should prevail at all times. There was a perception from Boaters for example, that a minority of cyclists cycled at a dangerous speed, disregarding the safety of other users. Improved signage might alert and promote cyclists of alternative routes for ‘fast commuting’. On longer sections of towpath, there might also be better provision of places to rest and to enjoy the water network. Benches and picnic tables could be installed at appropriate locations.

For further information, see: canalrivertrust.org.uk

Jo Grummet, Customer Service Manager, has agreed to be our point of contact:

East Midlands Address: The Kiln, Mather Road, Newark NG24 1FB

Mobile: 07826941916

Email: jo.grummett@canalrivertrust.org.uk

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