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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - April 2008

April 5 & 6

The Society descended on Redwith Bridge mob-handed for the April work party with two separate teams in action. Paul's enhancement volunteers spent Sunday installing a seat and a milestone on the recently re-watered Gronwyn-Redwith section.

The restoration volunteers organised by Mike spend both days on the new site at Redwith-Pryces Bridge. The contractors' work on the site is now finished, their final contribution being the construction of the retaining wall adjacent to Redwith Bridge. Volunteer numbers remain very healthy with thirty-two attendees over the two days. The first job was sorting and cleaning of the stone recovered from the excavation on the site of the retaining wall. This involved lifting the stone onto pallets and them using a pressure washer to remove the accumulated grime. When cleaned a great variety of stone was apparent, not all local limestone by any means - and it is interesting to speculate how and why this should be. Also emerging from the muck was a stone trigonometric point and a tramway sleeper block!

Work started in earnest on the main length of the towpath wash wall. The towpath is piled to just below eventual water level, waterproofed and capped with concrete. We are building the stone wall off the concrete cap and, to match the original wash walls, this is being built on a batter sloping inwards. Devising a method to do this accurately has required considerable head-scratching since both the curve of the bank and the slope of the wall mean that string-lines cannot be used. The solution has been to use portable wooden profiles which clip over the edge-board of the towpath - the position of towpath having been set out by the contractors - and these accurately locate the front face of the wall. The profiles are spaced close enough together to enable the stones to be positioned by sighting between them. The method proved easy to use and gave good results. At close of play six metres of the batter wall was finished, with a further thirty-five metres up to first course and backfilled. In addition another ten metres of vertical wash wall adjacent to the bridge was completed.

The current task is very different to that on previous sites such as Newhouse or Crickheath where the work comprised a number of separate tasks between which volunteers could choose. Redwith is, like the winter hedge-laying, really one enormous task with volunteers contributing as part of a big team. This is a very different challenge to previous sites but one that one the evidence so far we are more than equal to.

 

apr2008rest1 apr2008rest2
Building the wash wall using profiles Progress on wash wall
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