SUMBA volunteers

A team of volunteers have clubbed together to adopt a section of canal near Nantwich.

Members of Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch Adopters (SUMBA) have adopted a five and a half mile stretch of the canal from Barbridge in Nantwich to Church Minshull.

It’s been completed under the Canal & River Trust’s “Adopt Your Local Canal” scheme, and it is believed to be the trust’s longest adopted length of navigable canal.

And now the volunteers for SUMBA are working on a new environmental project to create “Cheshire’s Towpath Gardens” at several canalside locations.

They are planting native bulbs and seeds, species of Cheshire’s 33 historic apple trees, other local fruit trees and bushes, insect attracting bushes and whips to repair and extend hedgerows.

SUMBA worker on canal pathGraham Russell, a member of SUMBA, from Church Minshull, said: “It’s an exciting and unique project. It will provide colour and fresh fruit for all canal users.”

Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust’s Chief Executive, visited Aqueduct Marina in Church Minshull to launch the project.

Robert Parton, Aqueduct director, presented a cheque to sponsor the purchase of two historic Cheshire apple trees – a “Bee Beech” and “Minshull Crab”, both local varieties of cooking apples.

And Mr Parry planted the trees by the towpath next to the 48-hour moorings opposite Aqueduct Marina.

Ten SUMBA volunteers completed the first of the “Towpath Garden” by planting five more apple trees, 200 daffodil bulbs and hedging whips to repair and extend the hedgerow.

They plan to plant further “Towpath Gardens” at various locations along its 5 1/2 mile adopted length.

For more details about SUMBA and its volunteering opportunities, email [email protected]


  1. Hi, this sound like the sort of thing I should be publishing as news on my site
    If the organiser of SUMBA reads this, please add [email protected] to your press release list! I try to add info from all canal societies as soon as I can.

  2. Generally admirable if native, locally-sourced tree and shrub species are being used but my heart sank when I read that ‘200 daffodil bulbs’ had been planted. Although these could be native (are they?), the canal towpath is entirely the wrong context for this type of plant material and this approach only adds to the creeping ‘suburbanisation’ of our rural canals. Plant local wild flowers and grasses instead.

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