Lichfield & Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust

The hedge planting team -
    Mike, Mike, Hilary and Aileen

Start of the hedge bordering the newly purchased land west of the M6 Toll, old demolished hedge on the left. Over 170 hedgerow whips were  planted in one morning.  On Sunday 1st March another 200 were planted taking us up to the corner.

‘Till Borrowcop Woods do come to Summerhill (With apologies to W.S.)

Following on from a lengthy session on Wednesday, 25th February, the Trust’s Green Team (Hilary Smith, Aileen Salter and I) ably augmented by Mike Brown, Beverley and recorder Paul Marshall, met once again on Sunday March 1st on a cold and windy morning to complete the new hedge planting along our boundary with Farmer Ryman’s field at Summerhill, just off the A5 Junction with the A5011, Chase Road.

Using sapling whips, canes and spiral protectors collected from Peter’s ‘Buck House’, then strictly following his planned design, Hawthorn, Hazel (and later, Oaks) will add to the environmental habitat in this otherwise rather bleak area, offering opportunity for wild life and interest to mitigate the sight and roar of the Motorway.  

Working with a practiced routine not unfamiliar to a car production line, the new hedge is rapidly approaching the demarcation line at the limit of Trust land, adding the carefully planned mix of Hawthorn, and Hazel, with accent Oaks still to come in a future visit, a further mixture of 200 whips were set, extending the line planted at the previous session. Fortunately the camaraderie of the group helped to keep the mind off the winter’s chill.


Being so close to the Aqueduct over the M6 motorway we could see in the distance Terry Brown’s team of  ‘Slashers and Burners’  no doubt cheered by their massive bonfire, with the copious smoke blowing well away from passing Motorway traffic. (Did anybody bring the crumpets to toast?)  Terry and his team are clearing the scrub in the canal bed thus opening up the section of the recovering Lichfield Canal Towpath Trail (LCTPT).  This will take walkers down from the Boat Inn (and perhaps back for restorative refreshment).

At least Terry and the workers could use the heat from their bonfire to counter the bitterly cold northerly wind that seems to be a regular challenge to working fingers, gloves not-withstanding, at this exposed location. At midday, Mine Host at the Boat Inn is a  welcoming sight; always available to offer hot soup and a bacon sandwich to fortify for the afternoon session.

Terry’s Work Party has made wonderful progress reaching the eastern side of the aqueduct. We hope one day, with suitable safety measures installed, the completed route across will be open for all to enjoy.

Mike Battisson

As the clearance of the derelict land comes to an end the regeneration begins!

Photos by Paul Marshall

“Over the last 7 weeks the Trust has cleared a kilometre of overgrown derelict canal land, but with the help of the Gardening Team we are currently replanting some 800 trees in new hedgerows which far outnumbers the number of trees removed.  The species mix we are using in the new planting is recommended by our environmentalist advisers and will have a direct impact on improving the biodiversity of the area.”

Peter Buck, Director of Engineering

Environment Matters   2015  Issue 2