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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Reports - 2005

March
April

The first two work parties of the year have been fantastic with more than 20 volunteers on both Saturdays and all were found work to do. The March party had the task of laying the hedge along the towpath side of the lock in addition to the building works associated with the lock. This attracted new volunteers who came to help with the hedge which was completed over the weekend with the valuable help and guidance of Wyn, the Montgomery Waterway supervisor.

Both weekends saw major progress on rebuilding the stone approach wall below the lock and over the two weekends the canalside wall of the weir has been rebuilt and now only needs its capping of bull nosed blue bricks for completion. The floor of the weir and a two metre section of the back wall were removed and it has now been decided to rebuild the back wall completely as this demolition work during the two weekends has revealed structural problems with the base of both wall and weir.

In addition to the above some valuable pointing work was also carried out in April and this means that, unless further problems arise we are on schedule to meet an end of year completion.

 

IMG 10711
The newly laid hedge
IMG 10823
Removing the end retaining wall of the weir
in order to re-brick the face of the culvert
IMG 10835
Beavering away below the lock
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Investigations of the bed of the weir
IMG 10909
Pointing work below the lock

 

April 30th, May 1st & 2nd

With an extra day over the Bank Holiday, the weekend was extremely productive. The remaining work of rebuilding the below lock approach wall was progressed to a point where we require only about one foot of stone laying over a ten yard length plus the capping stones, to complete. The brick wall between this and the lock has now been completely refurbished and awaits the capping bricks. The weir also progressed well with the breaking out of the old base over approximately half its length complete, concrete placed to help retain the bank and the bull-nose bricks laid along the front face.

The end really does seem in sight now with just the following left to do after completion of the already reported tasks:

  • Dismantle lock side bridge parapet
  • Clean bricks for BW to use in parapet rebuild
  • Rebuild culvert wash wall
  • Build stone retaining wall for lock gate beam
  • Landscape site.

This is not an exhaustive list but they are the major tasks. I’m sure others will be added as we progress through the job. British Waterways are due on site shortly to rebuild the other lock wall, under contract to the Society, plus all the other major civil engineering work required to bring the restoration to a successful conclusion.

 

may0501
Work to the stone wall below the lock almost complete
may0502
The top course of bricks for the spill weir being laid

 

June
July
August

The last three work parties at the lock have continued to see good progress made on the work. The wall below the lock on the towpath side has been completed and even has bollards installed along the top. The downstream wash wall has been cleared of vegetation, dismantled and rebuilt to a higher level and much higher specification. Work has continued to reconstruct the by-wash weir although the complicated brickwork involved is giving the volunteers a severe test of their skills. The faulty bridge parapet has been dismantled and after much discussion over the drawings work has finally commenced on its rebuilding. A deep hole has been dug in the canal bed for the installation of an oak post, an oak tree actually, which will support one end of the timber beam protecting the lower offside lock entrance which is also now in the process of being rebuilt.

 

IMG 13273
Bollards being installed below the lock
IMG 13285
Lower offside wash wall being rebuilt
IMG 13307
Lower offside washwall dismantled
IMG 13359
Lining the byweir
IMG 14231
New towpath retaining wall below the lock
IMG 145111
The oak post for below the lock
IMG 145413
The hole for the oak post
IMG 145617
Digging a tree root out of the footings of the dismantled bridge parapet
IMG 145815
Work progressing (slowly) with the bywash brick lining

 

September - No report found
October - No report found

 

November

The weather forecast for the two days was very discouraging, heavy rain and strong winds for most of the time but in the event we had very little rain indeed during daylight hours and work was able to proceed without hindrance. Over 20 volunteers turned up and we were able to have four separate bricklaying operations working all weekend.

Work continued to reline the spill weir with brick, the entrance to the bypass culvert was lined with bull-nosed bricks to cover up the plastic liner, the bridge parapet has started to grow above the string course and the offside exit wall is being reconstructed. All of these projects involve some quite difficult brickwork, nothing straightforward, and we are impressed by the level of skill being shown in the work.

In addition to the brickwork, another group of volunteers worked on getting the hedge along the towpath tidy in good time to avoid disturbance of nesting birds. It was the presence of such a large group of volunteers that made all this possible as the bricklayers had to be kept supplied with bricks and mortar, old bricks still had to be cleaned for reuse and there was still some digging to do to reveal the flank of the bridge so that it can be repaired.

On the Saturday evening the volunteers had an end of season dinner at the Lion Hotel which they all enjoyed and which was enlivened by the presentation of dubious 'certificates of merit' by Jan Friend.

In fact this may not be the last work party of the season as we shall meet again at the beginning of December.

 

December - No report found

 

Last Year Next Year

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