Adopt a mile – South East

Sprucing up locks and making bat homes out of military pillboxes on the Kennet & Avon Canal: we chat to the 1st Wargrave Guides about their work about the innovative goings on along their stretch

Canal & River Trust

 

Tell us about your community group.
We’re a Girl Guide group based in Wargrave, Berkshire. The group is for girls aged 10 to 14, and we’re a dynamic, very active unit that not only undertakes the Guide interest badges but do adventurous activities, camps, holidays and community service. We also have a senior section for girls aged 14 to 18. Our group is nearly 100 years old!

What inspired you to adopt a canal?
Our Guides are very active on the canal – boating on the community narrowboat Falcon Adam and doing water sport activities, such as kayaking. We’re also passionate about our local community and the environment – we want to make a difference. Our Guide Leader Tamsin is involved with the Canal & River Trust, so she encouraged us to take part.

Tell us about the stretch you’ve adopted – what’s it like?
We’ve adopted two locks – both of huge historical significance. Sheffield Bottom Lock is a Grade II listed structure, built between 1718 and 1723 by engineer John Hore. It’s also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is a rarity in that it is a scalloped edge lock.

We also have Garston Lock, one of only two remaining turf sided locks, also engineered by John Hore. It was known locally as Ghastly Garston, but after we removed the graffiti and gave it a lick of paint, it was ghastly no more!

What’s your current list of tasks?
Painting, clearing vegetation and putting up bird boxes ready for next year.

What’s been your biggest achievement so far since adopting the canal?
Turning a World War II pillbox into a bat home. The Trust’s environmental team helped us – we learned so much about the different varieties of bats.

Have been any surprises or challenges?
One challenge has definitely been the litter. It surprises us how enjoyable it is to be on the canal, how interested passers-by are in the work we’re doing, and what a difference we can make.

Any plans for the future?
Simply to spend more of our days there, and to include our families and siblings.

How can others get involved?
By joining us as a Guide! Find out more at 1stwargraveguides.co.uk.

The Canal & River Trust is helping local groups around the country to adopt a stretch of waterway to benefit their community. To find out more and get involved visit canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer/adopt-a-canal