We must make the most of our reinvigorated waterway

Seven-year-old Molly Hugo at the lantern workshop
Seven-year-old Molly Hugo at the lantern workshop

EVENTS running along the whole of its length at this year’s Rochdale Canal Festival aim to show people what an asset it is to the area.

From craft schemes which have been keeping local children busy in school holidays to the unveiling of major improvement works, the 2011 festival, which began last Saturday and runs for a fortnight, displays a real “we mean business” attitude in terms of the boost it can give the valley’s tourism industry.

Todmorden will celebrate the launch of the canalside improvement works on Saturday, August 20, when the Mayor of Todmorden, Coun Richard White, and the Deputy Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Peter Wardhaugh, will officially open the scheme with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the canal at 2pm at Lever Street car park, just off Halifax Road in Todmorden town centre.

The project, a joint initiative between Calderdale Council, Todmorden Pride and Todmorden Town Council was completed this week, with new trees and ornamental plants providing the finishing touches to the scheme.

The launch event forms part of the festival, and there will be plenty of activities for all to enjoy.

Groups involved in celebrating the launch of the canalside improvements include Incredible Edible Todmorden who will be helping visitors make bug houses to encourage bees and other mini beasts to the area, and there will be an opportunity to make a seed parcel – a mixture of wild flower seeds and compost that can be used on spare ground to encourage colourful flowers next spring.

Origami boats made from biodegradable paper will also be launched on the canal holding miniature cargo of waterside wildflower seeds.

Todmorden in Bloom will be revealing the secrets to their magnificent floral displays by demonstrating techniques for container planting. The planters will then be installed on canalside walls to provide further colour and interest through the year.

Members of Todmorden Art Group will be demonstrating the traditional “Rose and Castle” art associated with canal barges, and there will be colourful canal boats moored up around Shop Lock and Fielden Wharf.

Coun Wardhaugh said: “These improvements will further promote the hidden gems Calderdale has to offer visitors and other boaters from across the country.”

We report on some of the other events which have been held or are to take place in the column on the left.