Adopt a mile – West Midlands

Painting locks, picking up litter and keeping a watchful eye on the Stourbridge Town Arm Canal: we chat to the Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club about the work they do to keep their local stretch spin and span

Canal & River Trust


Tell us about your community group.
Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club is a local amateur paddle sport club based on the junction of the Stourbridge Canal and the Town Arm Canal in Stourbridge. We pride ourselves in taking a part in all paddle sport disciplines, from flat water touring to white water paddling and competitive canoe polo.

What inspired you to adopt a canal?
The club takes its social responsibility seriously, so we open the club to all and do our best to look after our part of the canal. The Stourbridge Canal and Town Arm are our home waters, so it’s in our interest to look after them, not only for ourselves but for the rest of the community.

Tell us about the stretch you’ve adopted – what’s it like?
Our stretch runs from Stourton Top Lock in South Staffordshire to the junction with the Stourbridge Town Arm Canal, then along the Town Arm to Coalburn Brook Bridge. The scenery varies from pleasant rolling green fields to an urban canal lined with factories of the famous Stourbridge glass industry.

What’s your current list of tasks?
The never-ending litter picking, both on dry land and in the water. Plus painting locks, clearing overgrown shrubs and grass cutting.

What’s your biggest achievement so far since adopting the canal?
Not so much as what has happened, more what has not. There have been no major criminal damage incidents to the canal infrastructure since we adopted the canal. In the past we’ve had direction finger posts cut down, cotters removed, lock gates dropped into the lock chamber, you name it! The main reason for the adoption was to be the eyes and ears of the Canal & River Trust on this part of the canal.

Have there been any surprises or challenges?
It was a huge surprise to get an extension of funding for our towpath resurfacing scheme, to cover the area directly in front of our clubhouse. This has made such a difference to our members and we’re very grateful to our friends at the Canal & River Trust.

Any plans for the future?
We hope for a complete redevelopment of our clubhouse, all subject to Sport England and National Lottery funding.

How can others get involved?
Join our club! To find our more about us and our activities, follow our Facebook page Stourbridge Arm Canoe Club.

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