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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - October 2009

October 3 & 4

 

After an extremely dry September, October greeted us with a fine drizzle. While not wet enough to deter the volunteers, it brought home that winter is approaching. With this in mind, work turned to three main areas: hedge-laying, clearing and lining the canal.

On the towpath at the Redwith Bridge end, trees were felled and sections of the hedge were relaid. While this sounds destructive, it rejuvenates the hedgerow and improves the structure of the hedge. An army of volunteers pounced on the felled trees and broke them down into manageable pieces in the way leafcutter ants remove leaves piece by piece. By the end of the weekend a section of hedge had been completed, revealing the intricate art of the hedge-laying team!

At the Pryces Bridge end a team started clearing the canal bed and offside bank. With the help of the digger, the tree stumps were removed, and some 70 years of neglect was peeled back to reveal a pristine channel. Ninety-five metres of canal was cleared over the weekend, and for the first time you can see the size of the canal and offside embankment unimpeded. Whilst this is impressively large, it gave some concern to those who will have to reprofile the channel and line it, as they can now see how much work they have to do.

At the Redwith Bridge end, a representative of the bentonite liner attended to give advice and offer moral support. With a 5 metre length of the channel already profiled, this section was lined with the bentonite matting, which was then sealed to the sheet piling and the concrete bridge foundations. The bentonite was then covered with a layer of sand, which was then overlaid with a fabric to stop the sand being washed out. All of this was then covered with concrete blocks supplied by the "Buy a Barrow of Boulders" fundraising scheme, and gaps in the blocks were filed with a concrete grout. It took a full two days to complete the five metre section, but many lessons were learned which will make the next 430 metres easier.

 

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Look what we've done

 

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Clearing the canal bed Hedge-laying in progress
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