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Montgomery Canal Restoration Archive - Redwith

 

2008 to 2014

The site ran from Redwith Bridge to Pryces Bridge (Bridges 83 and 84) and so extended the length of the Montgomery Canal in water by 430 metres. Redwith Bridge, which carries a busy B-road, was completely rebuilt in 2001, the traditional hump-backed bridge being replaced by a modern design which allows a level road and adequate clearance for the canal. Gronwen Wharf to Redwith (Bridges 82 and 83) was re-watered in late 2007, following restoration by commercial contractors funded with grant money. This money also allowed the towpath side between Bridges 83 and 84 to be piled, an area which had suffered subsidence.

The Society moved onto site in March 2008, intending to build a wash wall on top of the piling (the top of which is a few inches below the water-line) and to build a retaining wall on the offside at the Redwith end. The wash wall runs the entire length of the site, uses natural limestone and lime mortar and for most of its length lies back on a batter; the retaining wall is about 85 m long, 1.5 m high and 1 m deep.

By the end of 2008 the retaining wall was well underway and the wash wall was more than half complete and our rate of progress was increasing. We decided to expand the project to include everything required to complete the stretch. This meant profiling the channel and laying a waterproof liner and a lot of work to Pryces Bridge itself before the water could get that far.

So during 2009 the variety of tasks on site expanded considerably. Work on Pryces bridge began in May, and the first short stretch of channel shaping took place in August. In October and we lined the first 5 m and began 2 winters of hedge-laying on site. We also held a party to mark the 40th anniversary of the Welshpool Big Dig, the start of restoration of the Montgomery Canal. By the end of year, vegetation clearance and tree stump burning were established activities.

Channel shaping began in earnest in April 2010 and from May onwards we were routinely hiring an additional excavator and a pair of 2.5 t dumpers. June saw an 11 metre long concrete invert poured under Pryces Bridge and in September 10 m of lining and blocks were laid adjacent, to coincide with the Maesbury Festival. In October the towpath wash wall became the first major task to be finished, having been worked on continuously since our first weekend on site.

The list of completed tasks grew throughout 2011; the hedge-laying was finished in March, Pryces Bridge in June and the retaining wall in July. More and more people switched to the towpath surfacing which was completed in November. We also lined a further 15 m in October with the help of some reinforcements. By the end of the year the task list had shrunk to just shaping and lining.

Before the 2012 season there was a major development. A new canal lining system called Sahara® had been developed that reacts and expands on contact with water to create a geomembrane. The manufacturer treated a geo-textile with Sahara® to create a material that would be waterproof and self healing. Not only would this be much lighter and easier to handle than the clay lining, but it did not require the pressure that the clay needed, reducing the number of blocks we would have to lay to less than half. Initially our hopes were high and so were the clouds of dust being kicked up by the dumpers. But in April the weather turned and 2012 turned out to be the wettest year on record. We lined 144 m, well below expectations, bringing the total to 174 m.

The 2013 season saw further large developments, this time in our processes. C&RT rented a strip of the fields along the length of the offside bank, which reduced our reliance on the much wetter channel base. We used a much larger excavator that could reach from the top of the bank to the bottom and completed the remaining two thirds of offside bank profiling in two long weekends. We then started using chutes to deliver the blocks from above rather than driving loaded dumpers over the profiled channel base. This made life so much easier that by June we had equalled our 2012 lining total. We completed the profiling in October and the lining in November.

The first 3 work parties of 2014 saw completion of the 'finishing off’ jobs. The clay dam just beyond Bridge 83 was removed by CRT in late May and the top stop plank was lifted a fraction to allow the section to fill with water. By the time of our June work party the channel was full! We spent the Saturday removing the safety fencing along the towpath and planting on the offside bank. On Sunday we began the next project ..

 

The site is generally quoted as being 430 metres long. The channel is 419 m between the bridge inverts. The piling and the stone wash wall extend 414 m from the face of Redwith Bridge to Pryces Bridge brick wash wall.

This website is standardised on the spelling "Pryces Bridge" for Bridge 84. This is the spelling used by Charles Hadfield, the prolific canal historian and publisher, and is also found in various old maps. The 2011 edition Heron Map uses Pryces although previous issues used Prices. Both Pryces and Prices appear in the deeds for the cottage next to the bridge! We don't know of any references that use an apostrophe.

 

YouTube

There are a number of slideshows featuring the Redwith section under restoration:

January 2013
November 2011
October 2011
June 2010
June 2009

Time-lapse clips of the channel lining: Restoration October 2011

 

Work Party Reports

2014

March April May June
Restoration Review 2014
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May 2014
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June 2014

2013

February March April May June July August September October November
Restoration Review 2013
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January 2013
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June 2013

2012

March April May June July August September October November
Restoration Review 2012
Redwith Restoration October 2012
October 2012
Redwith Restoration November 2012
November 2012

2011

January February March April May June July August September October November
Restoration Review 2011
Redwith Restoration March 2011 Redwith Restoration October 2011
March 2011 October 2011

2010

January March April May June June 24th* July August September October November
* Mid-week concrete pour
Redwith Restoration January 2010 Redwith Restoration May 2010
January 2010 May 2010

2009

March April May June July August September October October* November December
* Extra Work Party for the Welshpool ‘Big Dig’ 40th Anniversary
Redwith Restoration May 2009 Redwith Restoration October 2009
May 2009 October 2009

2008

March April May June July August September October November
Redwith Restoration April 2008 Redwith Restoration August 2008
April 2008 August 2008

 

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