University of Northampton students have grand designs for county canal

Students at the site in Cosgrove

Students at the site in Cosgrove

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Students from the University of Northampton are being given the responsibility to boost a village’s tourist appeal, by breathing new life into a stretch of the Grand Union Canal.

A mile’s length of the historic waterway which flows through the centre of Cosgrove, has been adopted by the university.

The stretch which lies between the towns of Towcester and Milton Keynes, was identified by the Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for more than 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.

It is hoped it is a location which could be developed further to help promote the Grand Union Canal at Cosgrove as a place for people to visit and enjoy.

Alan Lovell, Programme Leader in Leisure Management, said: “The adoption allows our Travel and Tourism students to get hands-on, real-life experience of managing a visitor attraction in conjunction with experts from the waterways sector.”

Around 20 students will visit the canal in the coming weeks to carry out an audit of the signs that are on site, with the chance to re-design new signage in line with the Trust’s brand guidelines.

They will also carry out maintenance of the canal, including dredging, painting, litter picking and maintaining the towpaths.

Undergraduates will also survey canal visitors to assess their demographics and needs, and help Buckingham Canal Society with regeneration of an adjacent stretch of the waterway that is being restored.

Alan added: “It is an excellent opportunity for them to leave a lasting legacy at the adopted site by having input into the interpretation, signage and visual aesthetic of the attraction.”

Sarah Brown, Development & Engagement Manager for the Canal & River Trust said: “This is a great opportunity for us to get a new perspective and some fresh ideas by working with students from the university who will give the canal a new lease of life, by improving this section for many years to come.”