Moments of reflection: Greensforge Memorial Garden, Staffs & Worcs Canal – West Midlands

Visit this memorial garden for canal users, created by volunteers in the West Midlands

Photo: Eddie Starck

 

There are times when we all need to find a place to stop and think, a space that provides escape and release from our busy lives, allowing us to focus on things more than day-to-day stresses. That’s what prompted volunteers in Stewponey near Stourbridge to create a memorial garden at Greensforge alongside the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.

This space has been designed explicitly so that canal users can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the waterways, and use that calm and quietude to contemplate loved ones who have passed away. The Stewponey Volunteer group worked with a team from the Canal & River Trust to clear the space and create this special garden.

As Terry Hodgetts from the Trust explains, “Many people like to have somewhere special to go to remember someone and this memorial garden is a perfect quiet spot along the canal where you can do just that. The volunteers have cleared the garden area of overgrown trees and really opened up the area so it’s now light and bright. The volunteers working with my team have put a lot of thought into what should go into the garden to make a really lovely, calming place to visit and spend some time along the waterways.”

The Staffs & Worcs is one of the most important canals in the UK network, connecting the Severn at Stourport with the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood. It was created by James Brindley and completed in 1771. The canal was a success for the first few decades of its life, but was then joined by the more direct Worcester & Birmingham Canal, which captured some of its traffic.

Despite this and the arrival of the railway, the canal remained in use until after the Second World War, when closure was planned but forestalled by the work of local conservationists. The canal is now a conservation area, allowing old industrial buildings and new features such as the memorial garden at Greensforge to exist together harmoniously.

Read more about the Memorial Garden, near Greensforge on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, on our website.