Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - Winter 2016 / 17
December 02 - 04
January 13 - 15
February 03 - 05
This winter, rather than hedge-laying, we are clearing and coppicing the hedge between bridges and 84 and 85, in preparation for further channel restoration. The 'hedge' here has not been laid for so long that it is all too large to be laid again. This is one of the problems that has made it increasingly hard in recent years to find suitable hedge for laying.
December started with two bonfires to dispose of brash that had been cut at the end of the November work party. We were working southwards from a trimmed hedge that ends about 200 m from Br84. As the cutting and felling proceeded towards Crickheath a third fire was added to reduce wasted motion. Anything big enough to be kept for firewood was transported back to the compound using a power-barrow which rarely stopped. A quantity of Ash was logged and split and taken the Cross Keys in Llanymynech as a small token of our appreciation of the landlord's hospitality and generosity. The bulk of the wood was carefully stacked at the rear of our compound from where it was all stolen before the next work party.
January's work party was preceded by two visits to site by commercial contractors who had been engaged to clear a line of large willow trees from the offside bank. Despite repeated assurances that they would cut up each tree as it was felled and not just fell all the trees on top of each other making their removal far more difficult and dangerous they actually felled all the trees on top of each other making their removal far more difficult and dangerous. It took us two days to dismantle the resultant death trap from the inside. For good measure they also felled trees that we had deliberately left standing to the north of the area where they were supposed to be working but left trees standing to the south that they should have felled. We spent our final day felling these and so moved into the field of 'ultra-volunteering' where not only do you not get paid for your efforts but somebody else does!
In February we returned to the towpath side, continuing southwards. This month's random rule was that bonfires were not allowed, so we placed all the brash in the channel. There are a number of plans for removing this, including having it abducted by aliens. By the end of the weekend we had coppiced just beyond a large oak tree over halfway to Crickheath.
Saw dust and piles of ash bear witness to the work done
Offside bank and ditch from Lloyd's side
View from the towpath
Anther group were working at Br89 at the same time, can you spot the elephant?