Going green through Manchester

Published: Wednesday, 16 March 2022

BOATERS will find a difference when cruising the Manchester canals.

GreenGayThey have been given a green biodiversity and 'wellbeing' boost, thanks to the Canal & River Trust and the government’s Green Recovery Fund.

Rochdale and Aston canals

Over the last 12 months, the trust has worked with dozens of volunteers, community organisations and youth groups to bring a community project to 'green-up' the Rochdale and Ashton canal corridors running through the city centre.

 Alongside the canal towpath, walkers and boaters can now enjoy more wild flowers, spring bulbs, flowering shrubs, over 600 metres of hedgerow and new rowan, crab apple and ornamental cherry trees. Bare concrete lock sides and paved paths have been brightened with the installation of 17 large planters, including rainbow-painted planters in the 'Gay' Village. (Pictured.)

GreenManchesterNew reed bed

A new reed bed has been established in Piccadilly Basin (pictured) and all along the waterway, there are new pocket-sized community vegetable gardens, linear orchards and wild flower meadows, improving biodiversity for plants and animals, and air quality for local residents and workers.

We are told training volunteers and young people in environmental skills was a key part of the project for the Trust, which led courses on countryside management, planting, tools and boat handling. Schools and youth groups were encouraged to get involved and appreciate their local waterway by joining in fun activities like pond dipping and paddle boarding. And families were invited to ‘get active and fight plastic’ by taking part in canal clean up walks.

Sara Ponting, Community Engagement Coordinator at the Canal & River Trust, explained:

GreeTwoManchesterMade a big difference

“The Green Recovery project has made a big difference for wildlife and the many people who live and work near Manchester’s historic waterways. The Rochdale and Ashton canals provide a peaceful, off-road route through the city centre, which is now greener, cleaner and healthier thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

"The volunteers have done an amazing job and their hard work will pay dividends this spring and beyond as visitors appreciate all the trees, shrubs and flowers in bloom. They can rightly feel very proud with what they have achieved."

The picture shows Canal & River Trust volunteers Jim Atkinson and Neville Rumsby planting spring flowers at Tib Lock (3) on the Ashton Canal.

The Green Recovery funding has come to an end, but the project has been such a success that the trust has applied for other grants in the hope it can continue the work that has been started in Manchester.