People living along the canal

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  • Having been on the canal this weekend with friends I have noticed a few people setting semi permanent camps on the waste land that lies along side the footpath. Usually by creating a clearing in a heavily wooded area for concealment.

    Some are just small groups wild camping in tents but a few are starting to take on quite an established look with 'huts' and the like appearing.

    Does anybody know if they are being left alone or are they being hassled? The people I was with said they mostly appear to be young Eastern European blokes who are working near by.

  • These groups (if they are what you think) usually have a support worker/officer from the Local Authority or a representative.. Round these parts the officer was asking for tarps on freecycle for the group, tarps, camp cookers etc, to help the groups get through the winter period. Funny enough I offered my time to help them build shelters and some of my less important older camping gear. They were appreciative of the offer of equipment/donations but not input from the settled community. Even the worker refused any outside assistance. To which I thought was a negative response. In the end I didn't get further involved.


    Often boaters with official moorings do take advantage of the towpath and often over spill beyond the towpath. This area of land is usually in the same ownership as the waterway or in private ownership. Having a place to leave wheelbarrows deckchairs, pushbikes, wood etc, that doesn't interfere with public access or towpath use. Is often overlooked. Some of the private moorings can resemble 'shantitowns' I love the ingenuity of some of these builds. Planning is a little slacker along rivers than in towns.

  • I'm also familiar with this on parts of the Nene when I was living aboard, I've no idea if or how it was policed but it was,for the majority, homeless eastern Europeans in tents and benders just trying to find a better place to sleep than a shop doorway. Why not.
    Never knew any bother from them other than their methods of fishing.