Information for Landowner

The Trustees of Wessex Waterways are very aware of the sites where canal restoration volunteers have worked in the past but have never properly finished the work or have not continued the necessary regular maintenance.  We know that this is a silent demonstration of lack of stickability – and this undermines confidence that the efforts of voluntary organisations will bring about the completed canal.  We fully understand those landowners who don’t believe it’s possible, and we appreciate that a new and determined approach is needed to voluntary work on the ground.  Our Trustees are willing to organise volunteers to help with maintenance of restored sections of the canal.  We will apply for grants to purchase machinery and tools to enable maintenance to be done more effort-efficiently.

As we find opportunities to tackle additional ‘new’ tasks for the canal we will prioritise structures.  These represent a much smaller footprint on the land – thus far less intrusive and disruptive of other activities for which the land is currently used.  They are robust, and (being physically smaller) need less effort to keep them properly maintained and tidy.

If you are interested to help the great project move forward by allowing us access to the restore the historic canal structure(s) on your land, or to build a new bridge that will allow for future navigation, we would like you to contact us.  We will be grateful for your willingness to help, and we will not create obstacles of our own making to justify not taking you up on your offer.

Our policy will be to apply for planning consent where this is expected or needed.  The long-term success of our efforts is very dependent on the route protection policies in the local authorities’ plans.  It would not be fair for us to rely on the benefits that Town & Country Planning legislation brings to the delivery of our vision while failing to comply with that legislation.  We can’t expect others to comply in those locations where our project needs them to while not complying in what we do.

There is a statement of our view regarding public access to restored sections of towpath here (link to the ‘about landowners’ document).