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Case study: Peak Forest Canal

This case study covers small scale events that introduced the idea of floating pennywort management by volunteers locally and helped to develop national awareness, showing that even small events can have great results.

The project

Brief history of infestation and how the project to remove it started. Why did people want to do the removal?
  • Floating pennywort outbreak stems from a wide section near Bridge 6, Manchester Road, Hyde.
  • It has slowly spread out from there upstream and downstream.
  • Previously removed with machines and treated with herbicide, but little progress with ensuring there is adequate control in the long term.
  • Desire was to create a more sustainable method of removal that could get all the small fragments and at a higher frequency to prevent regrowth the next year.
Waterbody name and type
  • Peak Forest Canal with water flow generally northwards towards Ashton-under-Lyne, where it connects to two other canals.
Specific area worked on
  • Portland Basin to Manchester Road, Hyde.
  • Medium project (1001m – 5000m).
What went well?
  • Small number of people resulted in noticeable control.
Paddlers can get into all the areas.
  • They even got out of the boats to wade in the shallows where needed.
What did not go so well? Lessons learnt
  • Sporadic events, with limited coordination or sustainability.
  • Difficulty getting small bits out of overhanging vegetation, especially brambles.
  • CRT boat too big to get into the areas where some of the worst bits are.
Methods used? What was done on site and how
  • Volunteer hand removal.
  • Paddlers pulled the rafts away from the banks, collected any floating debris and pulled material caught in bankside vegetation.
  • This was deposited on the banks. In some areas, where bankside disposal is not possible, the material was put into CRT workboat and moved to a suitable location.
  • The first event was at the main outbreak at Bridge 6, Manchester Road, Hyde. Work was done upstream (south) for around 100m, but travelled downstream (north) to remove any material.
  • Second event was at Bridge 1, Stanley Lift Bridge, Astley Street, Dukinfield. Worked downstream (north) and did bit on the Ashton Canal.
Who was involved
  • Canal & River Trust.
  • British Canoeing.
  • First event in early July 2019, then a follow up event at the end of October 2019. Events were to be held in 2020, but did not happen.
  • Only two events during the year.
Resources available, including equipment used
  • Around 6 volunteers (paddlers) attended the two events.
  • Around 2 – 4 CRT volunteers assisted with boat and disposal. CRT workboat available.
Access and permissions
  • Access easy from adjacent roads and car parks. Landowner is CRT, who led the events.
Outcomes and what was achieved
  • Large patches, average 5-10m
  • Much reduced in size during the subsequent growing season (2019).
Any biosecurity measures put in place
  • A mobile CCD station was put in place for the October event.
  • A jet washing area was used to check and clean the canoes and equipment used during the event.
Contact lead for further information

Contact Thomas.King@canalrivertrust.org.uk 07717 302667

Return to the main floating pennywort strategy page.