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Capels Mill Progress Report No. 6

Capels Mill Update

The recent heavy rainfall has created some extremely difficult conditions at Capels Mill where a completely new length of canal is being cut through what was once Stroud’s rubbish tip.

Water Works on the West side

The first two pictures show the recent excavations completed on behalf of Severn Trent Water to the west of the railway viaduct.

Stroud residents recently received leaflets informing them of ‘some maintenance work on a water main in the area’.

The pictures right show some very large blue pipes as evidence of some heavy duty plumbing about to be completed.

The result will be that 18metres of new water main will lay safely 3.5metres below the towpath level.

Project manager Simon Dunn explained that the ‘plumbing’ involved some 'complex geometry' to be created for the pipe to be buried beneath the bed of the canal whilst being aligned to the slope of the ground on each side of the channel.

The changeover from the old pipe to the new route and piping will occur in the small hours of Thursday 8th November.

Extremely deep holes in the East

Out of public view on the Eastern side of the railway viaduct the conditions are equally challenging. Here a 35ft high wall holds back an embankment.

The installation of ground anchors to secure the wall involves drilling 35 metre deep holes, down into the bedrock, at an angle of 35 degrees. The outer ten metres is lined with a steel casing.

The specialist rig can be seen in the background of the third picture.

The foreground of that picture shows such a ground anchor being prepared. It consists of a ribbed plastic tube.

The ribbed tube holds steel cables and other smaller pipes into which high performance liquid cement is pumped under high pressure.

The ever smiling Terry James (pictured right) is one of Abergavenny based Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd.'s most experienced team leaders.

When asked where the anchors are manufactured. He grinned with a very firm one word answer “Wales!”

Checks & Environmental care

The next stage is to ensure that the hole is watertight. Having established that fact the water is pumped out and the ground anchor is inserted.

The excess water is held in the attenuation pond, pictured right. The settling and separation process that the pond affords ensures contaminating solids do not enter the River Frome.

Once set, the anchor undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it has seated firmly and effectively in place to hold back the embankment above.

Interesting English accents

The musical lilt of Wales is not the only regional accent currently to be heard at Capels Mill here in the heart of The Cotswolds.

All photographs by Mike Gallagher

Click here to see more of Mike's Canal Restoration Photographs

The ground anchor installation team Van Elle come from Pinxton in Nottinghamshire.

Our questions regarding Van Elle’s equipment and methods were delivered in clear and confident tones emanating from the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Newcastle.

Click here, or on the icon right to find out more about piling and ground anchors.