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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - November 2009

November 7 & 8

 

After 4 months of a largely-dry work area, the weather decided that it was going to turn the canal into a huge mud bath. Undeterred by the frequent showers, a large group of volunteers carried on with work in four main areas.

At the Redwith Bridge end, the final section of the offside block retaining wall was completed, save for 11 missing blocks, caused by running out of materials. This final bay has a right angle to anchor it firmly into the embankment when completed. This retaining wall now extends for a considerable distance, with a smooth gentle curve for part of its length. Once the final few blocks are laid, the bays will be filled with concrete, topped with stone, then backfilled with earth. This work will not start until finer weather arrives in the new year. The concrete used for the filling will also be used to create a new base under Pryces Bridge, so work there must be completed first.

On the towpath hedge-laying continued and is picking up speed, as volunteers who are new to this little-practised art get to grips with the skills required. The hedge was laid close the centre of the length of work site, and is progressing in the direction of Redwith Bridge. The thinning of the hedge in this area has opened the views over the Shropshire countryside to Breidden Hill and Rodney's Pillar, 6 miles to the south.

Some of the volunteers visited Waen Wen, where the hedge was relaid less than a year ago, and the benefits of hedge-laying are clearly shown.

In the channel work continues on clearing the vegetation. Over the years since the canal's closure trees had a great opportunity to grow in the channel without impediment. This leaves us with the task of removing some very large roots, which require a lot of digging, chopping and effort! The area being cleared this month contains the largest roots on this section. Once removed, any wood useful for firewood is removed in the interests of environmentalism. The remaining wood is burned on site. This works well with the hedge-laying, as the small wood removed from the hedge is used to fuel the fire to burn the large roots.

At the Pryces Bridge end, work on channel profiling continues, and a jungle of wooden stakes has grown! These stakes are used to mark various points such as the transition between canal bed and slope, and the waterline on the offside. The level of care and precision being taken over this task shows the dedication of the volunteers to ensure that the canal is completed to the highest quality.

 

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The final section of offside block retaining wall Burning of cleared vegetation, with some very large roots
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Work on marking out the channel profile Hedge-laying
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