Wednesday, 25 May 2011

New inland waterways charity (25/5/11)

I'm looking forward to getting down to work as a transition trustee
for the proposed new inland waterways charity, which will be taking
over the work of British Waterways probably next year.

Like our rights of way network, our network of inland waterways is a
piece of British history, but with a very modern purpose. Both were
developed primarily as transport networks - for getting people and
goods from A to B. When that purpose started to disappear, canals -
like rights of way - were in danger of disappearing through neglect.

And just like rights of way, canals were saved by people who saw they
were worth preserving, and campaigned and battled to change the views
and actions of those who took the decisions. Along the way, people
fell in love with canals as a way to relax and enjoy the natural world.

So the parallels with the rights of way network are strong. Of
course, although there are many different users of inland waterways
today, walkers are a major contingent. I remember walking part of the
Kennet and Avon Canal last year as part of the Ramblers 75th
anniversary celebrations, and it was astonishing how many people were
walking the tow-paths. Whether the canals go through the heart of the
countryside, or the heart of our cities, they're always a popular
choice for walkers.

Tom Franklin
Sent from my iPhone

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