Holidays with a difference
Preparing the canal bed for dry stone walling on the Lancaster Canal.
Team photo on the Chelmer & Blackwater.
Towpath tidying on the Chelmer & Blackwater.
The camps spent two weeks working at various sites along the canal near Stroud, carrying out lock and vegetation clearance work, bringing forward existing planned work. One of the first tasks was to expose and carefully dismantle the offside port boundary wall pedestrian gateway near Bourne Lock. With years of encroachment of the embankment of the A419, a large tree had grown on top of the line of the buried end of the wall whilst ivy had grown into the structure disrupting the stonework and the arch. Volunteers cleared vegetation around the base of the wall, and excavated and removed soil and debris to allow the erection of scaffolding to clear the remainder of the vegetation at high level. They then carefully dismantled the wall, numbering the key stone elements of the wall to help with rebuilding at a later date. Another group of volunteers spent the week clearing vegetation near Gough’s Orchard Lock and Griffin Mill Lock, removing fallen trees, willow saplings and offside overhanging
vegetation from the downstream side of the locks. The bonfires were a welcome part of the day’s work in the bitterly cold conditions. At the start of week two (6th-13th April) the scaffolding of Griffin Mill Lock was erected in the main lock chamber to allow the brickwork preparation on the towpath lock chamber wall and make safe large coping stones adjacent to the lower gate recess. Over Easter (29th March-6th April) 18 hardy volunteers carried out restoration work on the Lancaster Canal. The camp had three main tasks. These were to reinstate coping stones on wing walls and repair the adjacent transition walls (in dry stone walling) at Stainton Crossing Bridge; underpin a wing wall at Stainton aqueduct and divert the stream to prevent future scouring; install drainage in the newly profiled area adjacent to the channel that was dug out during last year’s camps. In very dry weather, spoiled only by a biting cold wind, we were able to achieve all our objectives which have assisted immensely in preparing the next section of the canal to be returned to navigable condition.
IWA waterways - Summer 2013 |
WRG at work.indd 41
Published on May 10, 2013