Regent’s Canal gets makeover at Mile End where wartime hand-grenade was found

PUBLISHED: 12:03 02 March 2015

Volunteers clearing up Regent's Canal where wartime hand-grenade was found

Volunteers clearing up Regent's Canal where wartime hand-grenade was found

Canal+River Trust

Volunteers who found a wartime hand-grenade and other weapons in the Regent’s Canal are returning to give the waterway a makeover to help wildlife.

Getting to grips with weeds choaking canalGetting to grips with weeds choaking canal

Members of the Lower Regent’s Coalition are putting on their wellies in London’s East End to take on a ‘greening’ project to reintroduce wildlife-friendly planting along the towpath between Stepney and Mile End, opposite the Ragged School Museum.

“We’re planting native reeds, iris, sedges, grasses and lily pads,” volunteer Dave Bedford explained.

“It’s to give this part of the canal a much-needed ‘makeover’ to encourage wildlife such as kingfishers, which used to thrive here before it was so heavily developed.

“This is a busy stretch of towpath, especially in spring and summer, so we’re making it somewhere that people want to spend time rather than just pass through.”

Weeding out overgrown canal towpathWeeding out overgrown canal towpath

The Tower Hamlets group has already helped the Canal Trust when 172 volunteers put in 860 hours removing 10 tonnes of rubbish from the canal during the three months to December.

The rubbish included safes, mattresses, traffic cones, shopping trolleys, car bonnets, baths, sinks, bikes, 120 tyres and discarded weapons such as knives and bayonets.

The volunteers even found an unexploded Second World War hand-grenade, which was removed for safekeeping.

The group is looking after the stretch of canal from Bethnal Green to Limehouse as part of a “community adoptions” programme by the Canal & River Trust, being funded by the Tower Hill Trust.

Canal Trust volunteer coordinator Debbie Vidler said: “We’d like to hear from volunteers, whether to meet once-a-month and tidy up the canal, or if there’s an area desperately needing restoration.”

The greening project starts later this month and continues throughout spring and summer.

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