Boaters enjoying time afloat on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal will soon find the waterway easier to travel along, thanks to a major dredging project by the Canal & River Trust.

This week the charity has begun work to remove almost 6,000m3 of silt from a 3.7km stretch of canal between Bridge 27a, M5 Flyover and Firepool Lock in Taunton.

The £414,000 project will take around 45 days to complete. The team will also be dredging a short (500m) stretch of the canal at Maunsel.

Mark Evans, director for the Canal & River Trust for Wales & South West, said: “Dredging is an example of the crucial work we do to keep our canals open.

“If we don’t dredge the waterways become silted up meaning boats cannot move around.

“With more and more people enjoying spending their free time on or near our beautiful waterways we want to ensure the canals are working properly and looking their very best. Dredging is central to this.

“However it’s expensive and time-consuming so the Trust is careful to maximise the benefits, including taking the nutrient-rich sediment from the canal and using it on local farmers’ fields.”

The project has been designed to meet the government’s Covid-19 guidance.

The Trust will also be carrying out fish rescues and regular monitoring to safeguard the wildlife that depend on the canal.