AMBITIOUS plans to create a multi-million pound learning and access hub at the Dudley Canal Tunnel have been unveiled alongside an appeal for public support.

The new building, estimated to cost up to £3.5 million, will replace the existing log cabin, providing improved facilities for the 80,000 visitors a year and create opportunities for them to learn about the site’s history and heritage.

Dudley Canal Trust Trips general manager June Hodgetts said the hub would provide educational space to support and enhance the Wren’s Nest Project, provide a venue for museum heritage collections and space for community events and activities.

It will also create employment opportunities, make the site accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities amd improve the operational efficiency of the boat trips.

The trust is putting together grant applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund and various regional funding bodies and will launch a public appeal to help with fundraising in the near future.

Project manager David Trevis-Smith urged people to register their support for the development by visiting its website at and clicking on the “Support our Learning and Access Hub” tab.

“It will be very useful when we go to funding organisations if we can show there is strong support for it,” said David, who added grants were often dependent on match funding, so fundraising would be doubly important.

The website will provide updates and further opportunities to get involved, including becoming a trust member.

June said: “Dudley Canal Trust strongly believes the development of a learning and access hub is an exciting opportunity which will not only enhance and support the significant heritage treasures that is the canal and limestone mine but will also benefit the wider Castle Hill area.