VOLUNTEERS from across the country have descended on Stroud to help with the ongoing canal restoration project.

Helpers from Waterways Recovery Group (WRG) have travelled from Devon, London and even France to lend a hand on the towpath on the Stroudwater canal at Wallbridge this week.

Ten volunteers have been working on a 20-foot section of the path, moving and resetting large stones that have moved over time.

Their work has made the path stable and it is hoped that the path will be open to the public this weekend.

WRG attracts a wide range of volunteers, from young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to waterway enthusiasts who wish to make a contribution to restoring and preserving the system.

Chris Blaxland, 49, from Hemyock, Devon, is a secondary school teacher and has volunteered on canals across the country every summer for 11 years.

He said: "As a kid I spent a lot of time on the canals and took great pleasure from it. When I heard that people were helping to restore these wonderful canals I immediately wanted to get involved."

Moose Hearnden, 51, an ex soldier from Harlow, said: "I have been volunteering on the canals for 20 years because I enjoy the water. I have my own boat, which I take a lot of enjoyment from.

"I am able to use some my leadership experience as an ex soldier to help restoration projects across the country."

Moose, who is now a housing benefit officer, added: "It is good to get away from my day job. We all like coming to Stroud because we can see the results of our hard work quickly."

WRG has helped restore many derelict waterways throughout Britain.

Dave Marshall, canal partnership manager at Stroud District Council, said: "Volunteers from WRG always do a fantastic job. What they have done is quite specialised and we are very grateful."