Just spent a very pleasant morning with a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers on the city end of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
It’s an 87 mile long, late 18th century marvel – surveyed by engineer John Rennie – and built to move freight from one side of England to the other.
The coming of the railways put this route out of business and much lay derelict until the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust was formed in 1962 to restore it as a through navigation and as a public amenity.
The canal today is what you would call a heritage tourism destination and boating with narrowboats and cruisers is a popular tourist attraction.
The people l was filming with this morning regard themselves as Trust ambassadors – as well as a voluntary workforce with a love for the outdoors – who are kept busy cleaning, pruning, painting and restoring AND find time to talk to people enjoying this historic route through the English countryside.
Recent grant aid money has enabled the volunteers to buy a wood chipper and a sophisticated steam cleaning system for dealing with graffiti.
Before we set off to witness that high-pressure machines first major trial run l had a chance to chat to Ian Herve who is lead volunteer for the group.
I told him the volunteers were as familiar a sight along towpath and riverbank as ducks and herons but who were they and what exactly is their mission?
Find out more about volunteering via https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer