Monday, 22 August 2011

RCR lends a hand with the Stafford Riverway Link.

For 10 years River Canal Rescue have been based in Stafford, a short distance from the Staffs and Worcester canal so it’s not surprising that the company have got involved in the project to restore The Stafford Riverway Link. The SRL is the new name for the former Stafford Branch Canal or River Sow Navigation which formerly linked the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal at Baswich with the town centre of Stafford.  The restoration project aims to rebuild this link for community benefit.

This link consisted of a short section of canal branching off the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal near St Thomas Bridge 101 leading via a basin and an aqueduct over a drainage channel into a lock down into the River Sow.  From here the river course was straightened and made navigable for 1½ miles to its terminus at a basin near Green Bridge in Stafford.

The Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal opened in 1772 passing within I½ miles of Stafford but on the other side of the river. Despite this the first fixed link with the town was not made until 1805 when a horse tramroad was opened running from a basin and warehouses at Radford Bank. Coal was carried from the canal together with other goods but its limited capacity meant it was not a great success and it closed in about 1814.  This was replaced in 1816 by the River Sow Navigation which was constructed privately.

To this day the route can still be walked on riverside footpaths and doing so you can see the potential value of its restoration to boaters and for trade and tourism in Stafford is. This was part of the reason why RCR decided to help to promote the project by supporting the project though the production of posters to promote the charities aims, and also the construction of a post at the proposed junction to highlight to boaters and walkers where the new canals route. This, it is hoped, will improve visibility of the charity and its aims.

For more information see the Stafford Riverway Link website: and for more information on River Canal Rescue visit