Cheshire Paddling Club adopts stretch of Weaver

Canal & River Trust volunteer coordinator Jason Watts (centre) presenting an adoption certificate to Mid Cheshire Stand Up Paddle boarders Brian Cadwallader (right) and Richard Jordan (left) at Newbridge on the River Weaver Navigation, nr Winsford, Cheshire. PHOTOS: CRT

MID Cheshire SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarders, who are based in Winsford, have formally adopted 1.8 miles of the River Weaver Navigation from Winsford Marina to Newbridge.

The club, which has more than 20 members, regularly paddles along the river but will now also clean and clear litter from the river banks, as well carrying out wildlife surveys.

Paddle boarders are in an ideal position to reach shallow sections close to the river bank which act as traps for plastic bottles, cans and other rubbish.

Jason Watts, a volunteer coordinator with the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is a win-win arrangement for everyone.

“Disposing of plastic waste is high on the political agenda at the moment. Of course, it would be better if people didn’t drop litter at all but if we can all stop it reaching the oceans that is a great result for everyone.”

Mid Cheshire SUP boarders were formed four years ago by Winsford enthusiast Brian Cadwallader, who is now the group’s chairman.

Over the years dozens of people have tried out taster sessions run by qualified instructors and got hooked on the sport too. And when he mentioned on the group’s Facebook page about getting involved in cleaning up the River Weaver, he was overwhelmed with the positive response.

Brian said: “Plastic is a big issue. As we paddle along, we can’t fail to notice all the rubbish trapped in reeds and booms above weirs. We want to do our bit to make this beautiful river a great place to visit. It’s a hidden oasis and could play a much greater role in attracting tourists to the area.

“Our members are keen to play their part in keeping the river litter free and add to the great work of the Canal & River Trust staff. We all need to take action now to stop plastic polluting our rivers and oceans. As users of the river, we take pride in our local waterway and believe we have a moral obligation to help.

Richard Jordan the club’s secretary, added: “If we can keep the river in pristine condition and stop plastic and other rubbish reaching the River Mersey and the Irish Sea that will be a great result for us.”

Their first major plastic litter pick will be on Sunday April 22 – International Earth Day – when they are hoping community groups and individuals all along the River Weaver will join their 3Ps Paddlers Pick-up Plastic project.

For more information about this initiative and taster sessions with the Mid Cheshire SUP, check out the group’s Facebook page.