ENews 2014-01

January 31st 2014
 
Hello and welcome to ENews 2014-01.
 
The headlines for this issue:-
 
Heres hoping the weather gets better
Before this years boating begins
Three lucky members this quarter
News of their new year winnings.

Wonderful news from Veolia
Money to help shift the muck
Chance to go Walkies with Martin
To see loads of birds with some luck.

For those who are trained on the tug boat
Tugmeister Tony needs crew
I've got news surrounding Phase 1A
And a quest for a sculptor comes through.
Now, please read on for the stories behind those headlines.
 
oOo
 
JOLLY BOATING WEATHER
 
Whilst we are most certainly not experiencing ideal weather at the moment, the Saul and Ebley trip boat operating season starts again in about 10 weeks' time would you believe.
 
Operations Manager (for both) Rob Burgon tells me that he and his Team are always looking for new crew members to join the merry throng. Check out the Message Boards on Connect – the CCT Volunteers' website at www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk – for further information; in particular please note the nature of the commitment you will be undertaking if you decide you would like to "sign up"!
 
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IN IT TO WIN IT
 
As many readers already know, the Three Hundred Club is the name of the Trust's lottery where prize draws are held quarterly.
 
The Winter Draw was held in Wallbridge Visitor Centre on the 28th January. The prize fund was £1050, continuing the £1000+ level achieved in every draw last year.
 
1st prize £630 – Mrs H Marsh of Cheltenham
2nd prize £315 – Mr R Mann of Stroud
3rd prize £105 – Mr F Laurenson of Gloucester
 
The Club is open to all members of the Cotswold Canals Trust, the annual subscription is just £15 per stake with any member allowed to hold a maximum of 4 stakes. Full details can be found on the website at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/three-hundred-club.php
 
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WHERE THERE'S MUCK….
 
……….To be got rid of, there's now the money to do it.
 
The Veolia Environmental Trust has very generously awarded a grant of £100,000 to Stroud District Council for the restoration of a 320-metre (or 350 yards if you prefer) section of the Stroudwater Navigation between Wallbridge Lower Lock (SO846 051) and Lodgemore Bridge (SO843 050).
 
A navigable stretch will be created by dredging the channel along the line of the original canal that has become heavily silted and overgrown since abandonment in the 1950s.
 
Veolia and Stroud District Council are finalising all the details and working towards work starting at the earliest opportunity.
 
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WRIGHT'S WILDLIFE RAMBLES
 
The ever popular series of fortnightly wildlife walks organised by ornithologist Martin Wright are returning!
 
So far four walks have been arranged, the first one is on Wednesday 5th February starting from Wallbridge Visitor Centre at 09:45
 
Further information about this and subsequent ones can be found on the website at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/watching-wildlife-620.php
 
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ST VALENTINES DAY MASS A CRE(W)
 
Waterway Recovery Group Forestry are coming to see us over the weekend of the 14th – 16th February to tackle the willows that look a bit the worse for wear between Ryeford Swing Bridge (SO814 046) and Ryeford Double Lock (SO819 046).
 
Plan A is for the felled timber and brash to be removed by boat and barge with the former ending its days as fuel for the Log Sales Division. To achieve this Tugmeister Tony Jones needs to assemble crews for the Trust's flotilla that will be in use over the weekend.
 
Several suitably qualified volunteers have already come forward. However if you are one of the ones Tony has not been able to contact for a variety of reasons but are qualified or have spent time on training sessions then he would really like to hear from you as soon as possible. Email jonestheboats@yahoo.co.uk for more information.
 
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RESTORATION REPORT
 
The latest news, hot off the presses from Canal Partnership Manager Dave Marshall:
 
~ Ebley (SO829 046). Our recently upgraded dredger is moored opposite Ebley Mill. CCT volunteers undertook the upgrade and have added stabilisers. A dredging working group has been established and it shouldn't be too long before she can start earning her keep on the stretch between the Ocean (SO798 050) and Lodgemore Bridge (SO843050).
~ Dudbridge Lower Lock (SO836 048). Work on rebuilding the collapse here is well under way, delayed by – you've guessed it – high water levels. Short term solutions are to leave both offside lock gates open when high flows are expected and arrange for the concreting of the towpath alongside the lock. The thinking hats are on to come up with a longer term and permanent solution.
~ Wallbridge Lower Lock (SO846 051). The stretch of canal here is classed as main river because of the confluence of Slad Brook at the foot of Wallbridge Upper Lock. Preliminary design work for a bypass arrangement (see ENews 2013-11) are complete and the design has been submitted to the EA and Stroud Valleys Canal Company. Work cannot start until the end of May at the earliest by when our piscine friends should have finished their fishy frolics. Once completed then a contract for the actual refurbishment of the lock can be prepared and let.
~ Cheapside (SO849 050). Given the acknowledged shortage of engineering capacity within the canal team as a whole, consideration is being given to taking on an engineer to specifically lead this project. The work will involve dredging between Wallbridge Upper Lock (SO848 050) and Capels Mill (SO852 047) whilst bearing in mind the potential for further destabilisation of the slope on the offside that has slipped in places over the years.
~ Capels Mill. What a lovely area this is going to be – if it ever gets the opportunity to dry out! Planting work is well under way in a joint venture between Stroud District Council and the Stroud Valleys Project.
~ Bowbridge (SO857 042). The design for the required retaining wall was completed in house, thereby saving an estimated GBP100,000 believe it or not, and the tenders are in. Work is expected to start in the next 3 or 4 weeks and, once complete, will open the way for restoration of the lock by SDC-led volunteers to begin.
~ Finally – Search for a Sculptor! An exciting project has been launched to find a signature sculpture to be sited overlooking the canal at Capels Mill. Further information including application details for interested sculptors can be found at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/search-for-a-sculptor-612.php?p=5 But………..you will have to hurry because the final date for entries is Thursday 6th February.
 
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FORTHCOMING EVENTS
 
For further information (including contact details) about any items marked by an asterisk, please go to www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk and the Message Boards that can be found on the Activities and Rosters page. To become a registered volunteer follow the Register Me Now link.
 
Mondays and Wednesdays from 09:00*: Maintenance activity at Western Depot Eastington.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 09:00*: Maintenance activity at Eastern Depot Eisey.
Tuesdays from 10:00: Work Parties at Griffins Mill Lock
Thursdays from 10:00: Introductory volunteer sessions aimed at those new to volunteering. Meet Wallbridge Visitor Centre. Existing CCT volunteers more than welcome.
FEBRUARY
4th – Noggin n Natter at the Alehouse, John Street Stroud from 19:30. An informal get together for a chat over a pint.
5th – Wildlife Walk from Wallbridge Visitor Centre, 09:45. CCT Members £2, non members £3. Not suitable for dogs!
11th – Stroudwater Sessions meeting at Fromebridge Mill, Whitminster from 19:30.
19th – Eastern Branch meeting at the TRout Inn, Lechlade, from 19:30.
19th – Wildlife Walk from Bonds Mill Cafe, 09:45. CCT Members £2, non members £3. Not suitable for dogs!
25th – Construction Action Group meeting at 19:30 at Wallbridge Visitor Centre.
 
MARCH
5th – Wildlife Walk from Brimscombe Port (near Ship Inn), 09:45. CCT Members £2, non members £3. Not suitable for dogs!
11th – Noggin n Natter at The Alehouse, John Street, Stroud from 19:30. An informal get together for a chat over a pint
19th – Wildlife Walk from Saul Visitor Centre, 09:45. CCT Members £2, non members £3. Not suitable for dogs!
19th – Eastern Branch meeting Trout Inn Lechlade from 19:30. Talk by Lou Vertessy "Exploring Southwest France by Boat"
25th – Construction Action Group meeting at 19:30 at Down Ampney Village Hall.
 
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If you have any item you consider newsworthy then please send me an email, although I would ask you to bear in mind that I always look for a connection with the Stroudwater, Thames and Severn or the CCT before considering any article for publication.
 
Any and all feedback – preferably good, but bad as well – is more than welcome.
 
PLEASE NOTE. We keep your email address on an electronic database for the sole purpose of contacting you in this way. We will never pass it on to any third party.
 
David Pagett
Editor, ENews
listmaster@cctmembers-newsletter.co.uk