THE initiative to clean up the Romsey Canal has received huge support from the public and further events will be held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 November to begin at 10pm.

Seven lorry loads of brambles were removed after the recent clean up event which took place on October 22 and 23.

around 15 volunteers attended and were under strict instruction from Test Valley’s countryside officers whilst Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust had advised them how to undertake the work without having a negative impact in the area.

Catherine Cox, founder of the Romsey Canal Group said: “It’s been a long business. Years and years ago, I wrote to the Romsey Advertiser and the District society, the Romsey Test Rotary and Test Valley Council then met with me, we had regular meetings and drew up a plan to clean up the canal.

“Information boards were paid for and CIL money paid for a new footpath but nothing else happened.

“The Wilder Romsey Initiative is a natural environment group overseen by Cllr Neil Gwynne.

“We’ve been having Zoom meetings and various sub-groups have blossomed. Some want to plant trees, others clear shrubs.

“I wrote to Neil and said about the canal. We contacted Test Valley and I set up the Romsey Canal Group with my daughter on Facebook.”

The group had a lot of interest within just a few hours of being started and many people commented to say how people were fed up with the state the canal had become.

There are currently more than 130 members in the group. Catherine continued: “Quite a few are volunteering to cut brambles and things, it’s just snowballed.

“We cleared a whole section between the two bridges, everybody was cheerful, friendly, so enthusiastic.”

Some people have commented on the Facebook group to ask why volunteers are having to do the work, should it not be the councils responsibility?

Catherine added: “There isn’t enough money for the councils to do all this alone.

“They have all these nature reserves they need to maintain; they are fully stretched and money’s tight.

“The job could be made easier if we utilise volunteers. The officer couldn’t believe so much was being achieved in such a short time.

“People do take pride in their town. Neil volunteered on the day, so he does put his money where his mouth is.”

Marianne Piggin, a community engagement officer for Test Valley Borough Council is providing equipment to those who register to volunteer.

For those who wish to be involved email>