Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - November 2007
November 3 & 4
Because of an unresolved dispute between the landowners and BW, the November work party did not take place at Crickheath North as planned. Instead the thirty volunteers concentrated their efforts on the section between Crickheath and Pryces Bridge and devoted the weekend to clearance of the remaining trees from the channel. The welfare facilities were based in a field adjacent to Crickheath Bridge and, as can be seen from the photograph, more than matched similar establishments that can be seen along the A483.
The main task was removal of a large number of tree stumps including some very big specimens indeed. This was made possible by the use of a 12 tonne excavator driven by Wynn Evans. This was capable of removing whole stumps and lifting them onto waiting bonfires. The process of reduction of the stumps by burning is a slow but essential process given that the only alternative is removal to land fill. The cost of this is considerable because of transport and landfill tax, so the bonfires will continue for some months to come. The cost of removal of stumps from Crickheath North for example was nearly £10,000. The final task was re-profiling the channel with the result that this section begins to resemble a canal again - a very satisfying weekend's work.
A notable feature of the weekend was the number of towpath walkers and site visitors. It was clear that many had been attracted by the re-watered Gronwen to Redwith section which has become a minor tourist attraction. The large amount of goodwill that exists toward the canal and its restoration was apparent talking to many of the visitors. One visitor spontaneously gave the Society a very generous donation to help the work.
2007 has been a year of remarkable progress. Twelve months ago Crickheath North resembled a jungle and was separated from navigable water by some 2 kilometres of dry, tree-filled channel. Today Crickheath North has two major structures complete and because of the collective efforts of BW, its contractors, W.R.G. and ourselves is now separated from water by 1 kilometre of what is recognisably a canal. Quite a year!