The Saltisford canal Trust project is on-going and has expanded to allow the people of Warwickshire and visiting boaters to enjoy the delights of canal boating, our landscape gardens, wildlife, on-site facilities, and bring navigation back to a previously derelict section of our inland waterways.
As the restoration of the Arm is over three decades old, repairs and renewals have become increasingly urgent and costly. Over the last 10 years several major projects have been successfully carried out including bank repairs and piling, allowing more visitor moorings, renewal of our permanent moorings and major landscaping works.
Our visitor moorings.
Our visitor centre building was originally a canal-side warehouse. It was restored by the trust from a derelict condition. It currently houses an office, a shop selling mainly craft items, canal souvenirs and ice cream, along with a small chandlery.
We have aimed to increase our visitor numbers by carrying out attractive environmental and sustainable improvements. These have included improved boundary fences and hedging, installation of eco-grid to form wheelchair accessible pathways, refurbishment and new build toilets.
Planting a community orchard including the design and construction of “Bernard” the willow bear to commemorate Warwick’s 1100th anniversary and a Bug Hotel.
Bernard and Bug Hotel
Of particular importance was the decision to design and install a raised bed Sensory Garden that would be an educational and sensory delight for both able-bodied and disabled visitors.
We appear in the guide to Warwick’s Parks and gardens and take part in the annual Warwick in Bloom competition and in 2013 our Sensory Garden won first prize in the Community Garden section and a Gold Medal in 2016.
The main car park was upgraded by the installation of attractive raised planting beds including a rose garden and wildflower garden.
We highlighted the need for a quiet contemplation area for visitors to enjoy the views of the site and its wildlife. We achieved this by the design and construction of a themed “lock gate” public art work made from six lock gates donated by The canal & River Trust.
Finished Contemplation Area
We are keen to involve groups and individuals in our Trust, its works and projects. We do this by encouraging and accepting volunteer groups such as Nat-Grid and Community Payback Scheme, and individual volunteers. They have assisted in numerous installations such as the Sensory Garden, Eco-Gridding, hedge laying and cutting, Lock Gate Contemplation Area, painting, brash removal and general maintenance. We were donated a contemporary sculpture which we installed and named “Celebration” in thanks to all our volunteers’ hard work over the years.
Whilst our mainstream income is from our moorings we decided that a new income stream and our educational plans could be achieved by the installation of a purpose built, environmentally attractive POD style building. Having carried out extensive evaluation of our financial strength and long term viability we were delighted to be given approval for a major grant from The Henry VIII Charitable Trust for part funding. Major landscaping needed to be done to prepare the site with removal of a large bank and new extensive retaining walls installed. All preparation work was done in-house by our staff and volunteers. The construction started in april 2015 and was completed in June 2015. The new building, named the Cedar Room, is cedar clad and wholly complements its location in the centre of the site adjacent to our picnic area and winding hole. It has already proved to be a major success being hired by local companies and council departments.
Preparation and Construction
The Cedar Room
We hold events on site for community entertainment. We take part in the Heritage Open days, with a canal fun weekend event with trips on our day-hire boat Saltie II. Using pop-up tents and our Cedar Room we have music, refreshments, craft stalls, model boat club demonstrations, children’s entertainment, historic boats, and sometimes alpacas and pygmy goats. Up to 1000 mainly local people visit over the weekend.