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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - March 2008

 

March 1 & 2

The start of the new work party season was marked by a successful move from Crickheath to Redwith. There was a very good attendance of 37 over the two days including two new volunteers who were made most welcome. All were put to work on Saturday completing the movement and storage of equipment from Crickheath. A tour of the site familiarised us with our new surroundings.

Remarkably by Sunday morning, less than eight working hours after arrival, building of wash walls was underway. This was in marked contrast to Crickheath and Newhouse where site clearance and set up took many weekends. It was possible because we had moved to a 'ready-made' site.

Our new site is some 430 metres of canal between Redwith Bridge and Pryces Bridge. BW contractors have cleared the bed of the canal, profiled banks, installed a culvert, and piled, waterproofed and backfilled the whole length of the towpath. In addition some of the offside bank will be piled and the base of a retaining wall built by contractors. Our task is to build a stone wash wall on the towpath side and a stone and brick faced reinforced concrete retaining wall on the offside. Our rapid start was due to both inheriting the contractor's compound, access and hard-standing, and to the considerable quantity of good building stone that had been reclaimed and stockpiled by the contractors for our use.

The task at Redwith to Pryces Bridge is considerable. The site is very large being about twice as long as Crickheath. A major challenge is that of moving large volumes of material considerable distances over a muddy canal bed. It was apparent that our trusty wheelbarrows would be of limited use for this task. A test of their proposed replacement, a tracked mini-dumper was successful. It was kept busy throughout the weekend and overcame both the mud and the steep gradients with ease. The total length of wall to be built is in excess of five times that completed at Crickheath. Additionally the biggest job - the towpath wall - is built on a batter similar to the some of the original examples on the canal and this requires the development of a new building method.

This length of canal is different from our recent previous sites in that our efforts will in time contribute to the extension of the navigable length. We look forward to seeing the first boats but before than there is the small problem of constructing 550 metres of the various walls! We have made a good start.

 

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The task ahead - the view from Redwith Bridge The first stones in position at Redwith
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