Flotilla of 21 canoes travels waterway to prove right of navigation

A neglected waterway running through Maidenhead may be set for major regeneration after an intrepid flotilla of canoes travelled the lower section of the waterway to prove the right of navigation.

The feat was attempted to generate backing for the plan, which would see small boats able to access the centre of Maidenhead from the Thames for the first time since the waterway fell into disuse after the 1920s.

The waterway was in fact the main river for many centuries, but became obsolete once the main line of the Thames had moved further east to its present position.

The organisation behind the plan, the Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group , was formed in 2006 and in a short space of time has brought together interested parties including Maidenhead Town Council, the Environment Agency, local businesses and residents.

The first step, which would enable small craft to reach the town will cost just £2-3m, and could be completed by 2012. Raising bridges to get larger craft to the centre will require more work, costing another £6-8m.