Apart from the odd spell, this summer’s weather has not been very kind to us. Resulting in a lower number of visitors, and not a great many boats. This impacts on many local businesses and services, as ‘the tourists’ have an effect beyond just the Locks.
The Convention on the Showground in July was a cause of major revenue loss across the whole area, on a prime summer holiday weekend.
Canal Condition & Funding
The Canal and River Trust (CRT) acknowledge with the resources available they are unable to maintain the 200+ year-old waterway network to a desirable standard. Some visitor moorings remain uncut, making it very difficult to get on or off a boat. Such as along the towpath edge between the Black Horse Bridge and the Swingbridge. Offside vegetation is overhanging in many places, and reeds are encroaching in every direction. Lack of dredging means many boats stir up the mud when moving. It also means boats cannot get into the side to moor, or in an emergency. It is, unfortunately, becoming reminiscent of canals in the 1950 and 60s. This was the period between the end of commercial freight carrying and the rise of the leisure industry. At this time the Leicester Line was a virtually derelict and forgotten backwater.
CRT’s government grant is to be cut drastically from 2027 and they are campaigning for this to be reconsidered. Canals provide many and varied recreational opportunities. Furthermore, crucially, it is universally acknowledged just being near water and in nature has valuable health and wellbeing benefits. People are urged to write to or email their MP and to make the case for the canals at any opportunity. Harborough District is blessed with a good stretch of waterway between Wigston, Market Harborough and Welford with many long-established businesses that contribute substantially to the area.
Deep puddles on the towpath between Foxton village and the Locks have been an issue for several years. CRT, using volunteers on corporate days-out, have now filled them in with waste material. Hopefully when the rains come we will have a better surface.
For more Canal Cuttings articles in the Chronicle, please see: