Volunteers needed to keep historic canal yard alive

An historic canal yard built by Thomas Telford is in need of some volunteer help to keep it afloat.

BORDER PIC MNA PIC  DAVID HAMILTON PIC  SHROPSHIRE STAR 4/8/21 Appealing for more volunteers Canal & River Trust customer service operative Dan Mullock, at Ellesmere Yard, Ellesmere..
BORDER PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC SHROPSHIRE STAR 4/8/21 Appealing for more volunteers Canal & River Trust customer service operative Dan Mullock, at Ellesmere Yard, Ellesmere..

The Canal and River Trust is appealing to people to get involved in learning new skills, get involved in practical creative activities or offer their skills to bring a new future of the yard.

The trust said it is reaching out to a wide group of people to get involved in its Testing, Testing, Testing programme at Ellesmere Yard on the weekend of August 21/22 and September 3/5.

Ellesmere Yard has a unique heritage status as the UK’s only remaining operational canal yard.

The Canal buildings and yard in Ellesmere

It dates back to 1806, the office and workshops of the former Ellesmere Canal Company set up by Thomas Telford, pioneer architect and engineer of the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals in the heyday of canal and bridge building.

It remains a working yard and operational base for the Canal and River Trust which takes care of 2000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The site includes a variety of small workshops and spaces including stores, dry dock, offices and the iconic Beech House. The site is also home to a heritage blacksmith and his company who run the forge.

The Canal buildings and yard in Ellesmere

The trust says it is a very special set of buildings that now need some urgent attention.

Early-stage plans for the future of the yard see it as a hub for canal operations, making and design, sustainable land use, heritage crafts, social enterprise and with public activities that celebrate its significant heritage.

Adnan Saif, director of West Midlands at Canal & River Trust, said: “Ellesmere Yard is a must see for anyone interested in canal heritage. The yard is teeming with historic buildings and artefacts and is a great spot to start your adventure along the Llangollen canal.”

Dan Mullock in the dry dock at Ellesmere Yard, Ellesmere..

“We currently use the yard as an operational base for Canal and River Trust colleagues, but we want local people to share with us their ideas on the future uses of this beautiful canal side location.

"We want to plan a space that can be used by the local community as a place to meet and create whilst enjoying the wellbeing benefits of being next to the water.”

Opportunities to volunteer and participate include the chance to become a tour guide and work with an artist to create a heritage event for the community.

Dan Mullock, at Ellesmere Yard

Help is needed to complete wildlife surveys and help enhance biodiversity with a local ecologist. Volunteers also want to look at creating a temporary crossing across the canal and conduct a survey of walking and cycling access routes.

The trust also wants to hear from people to have practical, administrative and social media skills to share or want to know more about helping to create a sustainable future for the yard.

For more information go to Facebook/EllesmereYard or email ellesmereyard@gmail.com.

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