The stretch of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal runs through the Darnford Brook wetlands and has been rebuilt by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT). The work has also included restoration of existing woodland and hedgerows.
Now filled with water again, the are is quickly becoming an established and diverse habitat for local wildlife. LHCRT is also establishing a nature trail alongside the restored towpath.
The restored section is close to where the HS2 railway will pass over the canal before passing under the West Coast Main Line. HS2 contractors completed an operation to drive a 6,200 tonne bridge structure under the existing railway at Fulfen Wood in August this year.
Carol Mills, chair of LHCRT, said: “We are so grateful to HS2 for the CEF funding. It kickstarted our work at Darnford Moors Ecology Park with phase one of the project creating water and other new habitats on land running alongside the canal. This initiated a chain reaction to enable us to secure further funding for the other phases. We’re close to completing the project and will officially open the ecology park in the coming months, which will be an attractive green and blue space for local people to enjoy.”
The HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) provides funding to communities along the HS2 route and is available to organisations demonstrably disrupted by the construction of by the construction of HS2.
HS2’s funding schemes will provide up to £40m of funding throughout the construction timeline of HS2, supporting community-led projects that improve the environment, such as tree planting and energy efficiency measures.
The funds also support initiatives that bring benefits to local communities, such as the provision of new community facilities or support for local heritage and culture.