The drained Hertford Union Canal

As many will have noticed, the Hertford Union Canal has been dewatered and will remain so until the end of March. During the next couple of weeks there are opportunities for volunteers to take part in litter picking along the drained canal bed.

These voluntary litter pick events take place between 10am and 2pm on the next two Thursday and Fridays (24th, 25th February, 3rd and 4th March). Please book via Eventbrite.

Each day the Trust will have 10 slots available to book onto, so slots will be on a first come first serve basis. If you apply after the slots have gone you will be put onto a waiting list in case of cancellations. The Trust will provide you with a bottle of water, but you will need to bring any lunch/snacks or hot drinks you require. Please wear old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and sensible footwear. No sandals, heels, or open toe shoes. Be sure to come prepared for the weather with warm clothing, waterproof coats, hat, or sun cream as necessary. Let them know in advance if you will need waders provided, along with your shoe size.

Meeting Point: Victoria Park Gunmaker’s Gate, 9 Gunmakers Ln, Bow, London E3 5PE

This is a great chance to get up close for a rare “fish eye’s view” of the canal, and gain insight into the things that find their way into our canals – motor bikes, guns, blown safes, and these days the eponymous Boris bikes, as well as historic artefacts from the warehouses that used to line “Duckett’s Cut” as the Hertford is also known. Perhaps you will stumble upon the remains of spitfire propellers that were manufactured during the war in what is now the Chisenhale Art Place ?

The Canal and River Trust have had to drain the canal to carry out vital restoration work to the historic walls, which make up the sides of the canal and are usually below the water line. The Trust is using traditional building techniques to repair the walls, remove broken brickwork and masonry and replacing on a like-for-like basis. Open joints are being repointed with lime mortar and the new brickwork and masonry will aim to match the original as closely as possible.

Alfie holds a mystery creature found in the drained canal
Mystery Creature found in the mud
Alfie holds old rifle
Look what Alfie found in the Regents Canal on a previous clean up event.