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ENews 2016-04

 April 19th 2016

Hello and welcome to ENews 2016-04.

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Internet Service Provider AOL continues with its self-imposed block on our newsletters, so for the time being all 195 AOL subscribers to ENews will not be receiving a copy.

We are hoping for resolution of this matter in due course but a timescale is difficult to predict. Meanwhile if you know someone who has AOL as their ISP it may help if you could kindly ask them to raise a complaint from the 'receiving end' as it were.

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GRAND BREAKING 300

Following a really good response to the advert that appeared in the last edition of The Trow the 300 Club prize fund now totals over £1,100.

The Spring 2016 draw took place at Ebley Wharf on Easter Monday and was made by John Wilkinson, a volunteer for over 5 years on the Ebley trip boat.

Richard Tanner of Yate was the lucky winner of the first prize of £700 with Mr J E Stanier of Chalford collecting £350 in second place. Next out of the hat was Mr B W Knight of Lechlade who received £116.

The 300 Club is the Trust's lottery and draws take place every January, April, July and October. The Club is open to all members of the CCT who can join at any time during the year. Annual subscription is £15 per stake and a member may hold up to 4 stakes; further information can be found on the Three Hundred Club page of the CCT website at www.cotswoldcanals.com

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CANAL PROJECT UPDATE

My thanks to SDC Canal Project Manager Dave Marshall as usual for the following information:

Dudbridge Locks: The recent heavy rains again caused water to overtop the canal channel, causing some damage to a short unconcreted length of towpath, which has now been repaired. The flood at least demonstrated the resilience of the repaired channel, which suffered no damage. An additional preventive measure will be a modified inlet grille, much less prone to blockage by debris. This is being produced by Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers.

Lodgemore Bridge: The new lift bridge is now complete, but will not be operational until adjustments have been carried out to the hydraulics. Being hand operated, the bridge inevitably requires some effort to lift; we are checking that it falls within guidelines. Safety fencing and a traffic barrier will be installed by volunteers shortly.

Wallbridge Lower Lock: Propping of the failed lock has begun. The contractor is locally based Gardiners Construction who will also be removing the collapsed building on the lock offside. This will have the effect of reducing weight on the slope and make it safer for anyone working below. Once this work is complete, we will then be in a position to closely examine the failed wall. Once we understand the cause and extent of the problem, we can begin working towards a solution.
Having obtained comparative prices for different solutions to the collapsed bank above the lock, we are now designing a solution. This will involve the use of interlocking ‘porcupine’ blocks, which can be laid by our increasingly skilled volunteers. In the meantime, volunteers are reducing the height of the bank to reduce the amount of material needing to be handled and as a preparation for rerouting a high voltage cable which runs within it.

Cheapside: As scheduled, Land & Water Services moved onto site on 14th March, with the aim of reopening 400m of the Thames & Severn Canal between Wallbridge Upper Lock and Dr Newton’s Way Bridge and work is expected to finish in early May. Volunteers had removed much of the undergrowth from the channel and the bank opposite the towpath during the winter, partly to dissuade nesting birds. Once work is complete the combination of open water and the new offside banks will see their rapid return.
The canal has been temporarily dammed at Dr Newton’s Way Bridge whilst the paddles on Wallbridge Upper Lock were raised to release the water to the canal below. As levels dropped, members of the Stroud & District Angling Club ensured that fish were moved safely to deep water. Some water continues to enter the channel from natural seepage and land drainage so the contractor has deployed one of only two amphibious excavators in the UK.
The contractors have been commissioned to carry out the dredging and also piling the foot of the high slope opposite the towpath. The slipped sections are being stabilised using over 300 eucalyptus piles along a length of 100 metres. Each pile is the thickness of a telegraph pole and will have a life of over 80 years. Dredged material will be placed behind the piling to maintain the weight at the foot of the slope.
A 200 metre section not previously affected by land slip will be lined using Nicospan – a heavy duty textile membrane supported by wooden piles. Dredged material will be placed behind the membrane to stabilise the slope above it. At the points of the landslips the new channel width will be approximately 5m. The channel width will increase to between 7m and 8.7m on the other sections.
Around 1,300 cubic metres of dredged material will be drained and dried on the Cheapside site. It will then be removed and used locally to raise the level of a development site. This reuse minimises lorry journeys and means that the material will not be consigned to landfill. Thanks are due to Newland Homes for allowing the use of their redevelopment site for the dredging operations base.

Bowbridge Bridge:
The design reappraisal is still underway, though it is expected that the scheme will see just the existing single-carriageway bridge, with a new pedestrian bridge running alongside. Once Amey, on behalf of GCC, has produced a revised design, it is expected that a public share event will be held nearby. Theoretically, retaining the single bridge over the canal would mean that the towpath could be continued underneath. However, there may still be a problem in that there is a large lump of concrete sitting on the original towpath line; this was part of the 1960s infill and also forms part of the river culvert. Its removal may be a problem, not least because of its bulk and the fish spawning season.

Signposts: Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers are currently manufacturing 10 finger posts, giving directions at various points along the towpath. The posts will be the same as those an Capels Mill, which are designed to reflect black & white balance beams. Different fonts are used for the two different historic canals.

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WATTA LOTTA BOOKS

The grand opening of Alan & Anna Watts' second-hand bookstore is planned to take place on Saturday 23rd April.

As reported in the last issue the bookshop will be at Brimscombe Port, in the first unit on the left as you drive in from the main entrance more or less opposite the Ship Inn.

The shop will be open on Tuesdays & Saturdays to start with and volunteers are now being sought to help out. There will be 2 shifts each day, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00.

If you are a Connect-registered volunteer then you will find the Roster at www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk and follow the 'Activities & Rosters' tab. Alternatively you can contact Alan or Anna on 07976 617983 (Alan) or 07413 566600 (Anna).

This is an exciting new venture for Alan & Anna and they would welcome any suggestions or help you can provide to make it a success, particularly on the publicity front.

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LIFE ON THE WILD SIDE

For information about the incredibly wide variety of our feathered friends seen on the last two fortnightly Wildlife Walks, have a look at www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/watching-wildlife-report-no.-6-chalfo
rd-30th-march-846.php and www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/posts/watching-wildlife-report-no.-7-mdash-brimscombe-13th-april-847.php

The next walk will be on Wednesday April 27th and will start from St Cyr's Church, Stonehouse.

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WHAT'S GOING ON?

The best place to find out what's up and coming is the front page of Connect, the Volunteers' website.

Follow this link to go there: www.cct.teamconnect.org.uk

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David Pagett
Editor, ENews
listmaster@cctmembers-newsletter.co.uk