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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - May 2011

May 7 & 8

 

Six weeks of drought, which brought despair to farmers and gardeners, was duly ended by the only reliable method known to mankind - hold a Montgomery Canal Work Party! However although some of the showers were heavy, rapid absorption of the rain into the parched ground limited the affect on progress.

Activities over the weekend concentrated on stone facing on the vertical retaining wall, finishing off brickwork at Pryces Bridge, the continuation of work on shaping the channel, towpath re-alignment, and constructing the offside bank in the area of the tip.

The wall builders came equipped for the weather with a rather stylish gazebo. This was, we were assured, to protect the wall and not them. Progress was such that the first stone course is now complete for the whole length of the wall and their prediction is for the work to be substantially complete by the end of the next work party. We await the topping-out ceremony, with or without the gazebo, with keen anticipation.

The brickwork at Pryces Bridge is now complete, give or take half a dozen bull-nosed coping stones, and most impressive it now looks.

About 25 m of the offside of the channel was shaped over the weekend together with a similar length of the smaller slope on the towpath side. The spoil from both excavations was used to construct the new bank involving spreading and compacting the spoil in layers. Some 30 m of the bank was worked on with about 10 m being finished to full height. Finally the bottom of the channel was reduced to just above its final level. This thin layer of material remains to protect the channel base and is such that it can easily be removed prior to lining operations commencing. One other preliminary to the lining process was pumping to reduce the ground water level in the area of Pryces Bridge. This work involved using a small portable pump to transfer water between sections of the French drain and finally into the culvert.

One of the highlights of work parties are the tea breaks. Quite apart from the excellent refreshments and the opportunity to rest weary limbs there are always interesting discussions on a variety of topics. One discussion this month was on the chronological progress of the works, and a delve into the archives shows how work in the current locations has moved on. This time last year the invert of Pryces Bridge was the major concern but compare the present view from the bridge with that of 2009! It is also hard to believe that this time last year the mammoth task of building the structural part of the retaining wall had only just been completed by filling it with concrete. It is hoped that August will see the return to channel lining at Pryces Bridge and that will be progress with a capital P.

 

Pryces invert Pryces 2011
Pryces Bridge in May 2010 Pryces Bridge now
Channel 2009 Channel 2011
The view of the works from Pryces Bridge, 2009 The view from Pryces Bridge today, showing shaping underway
Redwith wall 2010 Redwith wall 2011
The retaining wall at Redwith after filling with concrete, June 2010 The retaining wall at Redwith now, wash-wall nearly complete
Profiling Offside bank
Shaping work on the towpath side Building up the bank on the offside
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