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By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 09, 2013

Map of Hazelhurst junction

Comments (0) PEOPLE living in North Staffordshire are being challenged to help look after the Caldon Canal and keep some of the region’s traditional rural skills alive as part of an intense two-week blitz to improve the area around Hazelhurst Junction.


The ‘Hazelhurst Challenge’ is a special two-week work party organised by the Canal & River Trust and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

It is part of the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund to conserve and enhance our unique landscape and heritage for all to enjoy.

The aim of the challenge is not only to improve the canal but also to give free training that will help local people develop important skills that have fallen out of favour in recent years.

The challenge will begin on Monday 12th August and last for two busy weeks. Amongst other things the volunteers will be learning how to improve footpaths and repair some of the dry stone walls that are so characteristic of the area.

There will be opportunity to begin working towards a qualification accredited by City & Guilds in a range of heritage skills.

The challenge will also give an important taster for anyone interested in volunteering regularly on the Caldon Canal as one of the Canal & River Trust’s ‘Towpath Taskforce’.

The taskforce is a regular activity that enables people to give as much or as little time as they can to help care for the canal and towpath in Hazelhurst.

Tom Freeland, volunteer coordinator for the Canal & River Trust said; “This is a great opportunity for us to give the canal in Hazelhurst the attention it deserves but also, excitingly, to help rekindle some forgotten skills that, in years gone by, shaped the Churnet Valley we know and love today.

“We want people to feel a great sense of pride in their local environment and in the traditional skills that have helped to make the Churnet Valley what it is today. We’d love to see lots of people get involved and come out of the challenge with new skills, a renewed sense of pride in their surroundings and a willingness to keep the Caldon Canal and the wider area looking special.”

The Hazelhurst Challenge will take place from Monday 12th to Friday 23rd August, Monday - Friday each week, 10am to 3pm. Volunteers will meet at the Hollybush Inn, Denford ST13 7JT on each day.

For more information, contact Tom Freeland on 01827 252010 or at tom.freeland@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

More information on Towpath Taskforce can be found at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteering.

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