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Hedge-laying & Restoration Work Party Report - February 2011

February 5 & 6

 

Another work party, another soaking! There has certainly been a change of luck in recent months for an organisation which used to openly defy the weather gods to work in sunshine when all around was rain. However working methods were adapted to suit and good progress made over the weekend despite more or less continuous rain.

The weather didn't deter potential volunteers with a very healthy combined attendance of 46 over the two days. Three tasks were tackled. Hedge-laying and excavation continued, together with a major re-jig of the barrier fence on the towpath. The latter task was, at the suggestion of BW, to address concerns emanating elsewhere on the canal system and took several volunteers most of Sunday.

The hedge-layers are now tantalizingly close to Redwith Bridge having worked on about 40 m of what has turned out to be a difficult hedge to lay. The main problem is that some of the hedge was disturbed during the work by contractors to pile and rebuild the bank in this area, with the result that the hedge growth appears at different levels on the embankment. The images however demonstrate these problems have been overcome and the result is very tidy indeed. There are considerable grounds for optimism that the target for finishing the hedge by the end of March can be achieved.

The excavation of the channel has now reached a point 100 m from Pryces Bridge after a weekend spent overcoming one problem after another. The major one of water had to be dealt with by pumping before any machines could be used. The working area was in a section where the canal comes out of an area with higher level fields on each side and into the area adjacent to the spoil tip where the offside bank must be built up and compacted. Only when this section was accurately set out before work started was the large amount of 'fill' required appreciated! The section also at one time contained a number of large tree stumps. These caused problems when they were being dug up and further anguish when disposing of them on bonfires. It was therefore of no surprise that filling in the holes left by the trees with compacted spoil turned out also to be a difficult job, situated as they were at the top of the bank.

However we have now acquired sufficient experience of earthmoving to be confident that, given good weather, high quality work can be turned out quickly. If only we have the same confidence in the weather!

 

Topping Profile
Hedge-laying faced strong winds as well as rain This bit is starting to resemble a canal..
The opposition Building up
..even if other parts still have a way to go Creating the new offside bank
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