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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - October 2008

October 4 & 5


The October work party was the latest shot in the Shropshire Union Canal Society's sustained assault on the credibility of the Meteorological Office. For while all around there was the predicted heavy rain, flooding and general mayhem, Saturday's work at Redwith proceeded serenely, untroubled by the elements. In fairness the John Ketleys of this world did better on Sunday but since both the forecast and the reality was sunshine nobody complained.

In a busy weekend twenty volunteers on each day were kept hard at it in four areas of the site. New ground was broken in both senses with the excavation of a section of offside bank south of the retaining wall at Redwith, this being the site of the future extension of the retaining wall. The purpose of the exercise was to test both the capability of the digger for this task and the method of carting away the spoil. The digger passed the audition. However it was evident that bigger dumper capacity was required given that the spoil must be moved some 200 metres. On the retaining wall itself John, Ruth and Cath continued their stonework and about 13 metres is now complete. The photo shows the considerable progress at that end of the site.

Some 18 metres of the batter wall was completed over the weekend. This figure was less than the usual output largely due to the absence of several of the regular wall builders. However the lower course of the batter wall was finished to the 215 metre mark. From this point for the next 30 metres or so toward Pryces Bridge the towpath is effectively an embankment which has a different construction (double sheet piling) to the rest of the towpath. The upshot of this is that wash wall in the area of the culvert has to be built as a vertical wall similar to that at the Redwith end. At close of play 15 metres of the lower course of this wall was also finished.

At the start of the work on this site there was a concern that the nature of the work might deter volunteers. It is now evident that the reverse is true given the steady increase in the workforce over the season. Each task presents a different challenge and over time working methods become more refined. As one volunteer put it "by the time we get to Pryces Bridge we will know how to do it!"


oct0802 oct0801
A quiet moment at Redwith The reason why it was quiet at Redwith
oct0803 oct0804
Batter wall construction with Pryces Bridge in background Work starts on vertical wall at culvert
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