© 2016 Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust


The Restoration of Darnford Lane

To be continued…

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Mike Battisson, the Trust's Environmental Officer and his team have been attempting to introduce native British bluebells in the broadleaf copse established by Trust members near to the Darnford Lane lift bridge (See CBW 36 - Other Reports). This recovery programme was submitted to the West Midlands Wildlife Trust for consideration for an award.

The good news is: we won it!


Mike's planting of trees and wild flowers at the Darnford Lane site, together with the Trust's policy of protecting wildlife in the area, landed us the West Midlands Wildlife Trusts Conservation Award, Community Category for 2003. These awards are sponsored by npower and seek to reward and publicise examples of good practise in nature conservation. Apart from the accolade, recognised by a very handsome plaque, the prize also carries a cheque for £100 (perhaps to buy more wild flower seed).

From 1990, when we began work at Fosseway, the Trust has always been aware of responsibilities to the environment. Whilst in general it seemed common sense that the re-creation of a waterway and associated hedgerows etc. in place of derelict land or farm land will increase both the range of species and their quantity, nevertheless care has to be exercised in the way that the work is carried out. At Darnford there is a badger sett and so plans were drawn up which avoided disturbing it and advantage was taken of adjacent surplus land for the Trust to plant a new copse.

View from Darnford Lane looking down towards the lift bridge from near Darnford Moors

(Photo by Bobbie Battisson, July 2003)

Graham Peak of West Midlands Wildlife Trusts and Liz Gater of npower present Mike Battisson with his award

(Photo courtesy of npower)


Darnford Brook Floods Canal

On August 10th 2004, after several days of heavy rain, the Darnford Brook at Lichfield flooded, causing a breach in the embankment along the canal. The normally dry canal channel quickly filled with water from the brook, giving us a preview of what will one day be the Lichfield Canal.

Volunteers from the Trust managed to plug the breach with 60 tonnes of clay and the water quickly drained away.


Piling at Darnford. Approx 400 metre of sponsored piling has been installed by Waterway Recovery Group.

Every alternate pile has been sponsored by someone.

First water in the canal.  Waterway Recovery Group Navvies Anonymous abstracting water into trial section at Darnford with completed lift bridge in distance.

Canal campers reinstating the path at Darnford Lane with brick rubble and sand in 2005  (Photo by Phil Sharpe)

2013 - Darnford Lane Challenge

At short notice an approach from The National Challenge in the Midlands resulted in a coach-load of late-teenage volunteers and their leaders arriving to clear the overgrowth at the entrance to the canal land off Darnford Lane, Lichfield. Full of enthusiasm, and many unaccustomed to country ways, the gang learned to use basic hand tools to cut back the weeds and brambles, making short work of Mother Nature’s steady encroachment. This was the end of a summer which took the youngsters through a range of community projects involving fund-raising, promotional studies, and practical activity.