A report from SDC Canal Project Manager Dave Marshall
(Photos by CCT photographer Mike Gallagher)
Capels Mill Canoe Access
The SDC ‘Tuesday & Thursday Volunteers’, led by Paul Cushanan, recently completed construction of a pathway and steps down to the water’s edge at Capels Mill. This facility will provide improved access for canoeists.
Chestnut Lane Bridge
A team of volunteers from Cotswold Canals Trust recently fully serviced this bridge, improving its reliability and carrying out minor repairs. This is another example of volunteers gaining valuable skills in order to undertake a wider range of tasks.
Wallbridge Lower Lock
Major works here have slowed somewhat. Design work is underway for repairs to the failed lock wall. Meanwhile, volunteers have virtually completed restoration of the rest of the lock, including installation of the ladders. The coping stones have been reinstalled, except at the western end of the lock. This area will of course be affected by the forthcoming repairs. The upper gates are expected to be installed later this month; giving us better control of the pound above the lock. Also this month, Western Power Distribution will divert three high voltage cables away from the canal edge. This will allow SDC Volunteers to cut back the bank, lay foundations and begin construction of the ‘porcupine’ block wall. These blocks are interlocking and can be laid at various angles. Flood Defence Consent has now been obtained and after careful consideration we intend to carry out this work before the wall repairs below the lock.
Land & Water Services recently completed their contract to dredge and pile the pound between Wallbridge Upper Lock and Capels Mill. The water level is back at correct depth and the towpath reopened. Whilst the channel here is not as wide as we would have liked, the need to maintain weight on the foot of the offside bank gave us no option. This was always one of the biggest obstacles to restoration. It is a huge improvement and opens up another 400m of canal to navigation.
Bowbridge Canal Channel
We now understand that the section of canal bordering the Newland Homes’ development will be dredged in September. Under the terms of its planning consent, Newland Homes is required to undertake this work. At the same time, we plan to dredge the two short sections at each end of this section. That is to say at the Arundel Aqueduct end and the stretch between Bowbridge Lock and Bowbridge Bridge. There is a need to remove some trees for the dredging to be done. Only when the bird nesting period is over can this process be undertaken.
Cheltenham based Civil Engineering Company; Britannia Construction is now back on site. The original towpath running under the bridge is somewhat narrow and with restricted headroom. As a result, Gloucestershire County Council is considering the options to provide wheeled access from the towpath up to the road. Drawings detailing the proposals were displayed from 2pm – 7pm on Tuesday 12th July adjacent to the bridge. Representatives from Gloucestershire County Council and their service delivery partner Amey answered questions from local residents and regular road users.
Waterway Recovery Group teams have recently been working on the failed wall between the lock and the bridge. All other work on the site, apart from the lock edge surfaces is complete. Those areas will be left until the chamber re-building work is complete.
Help for Heroes
A team of four military veterans recently carried out a range of tasks along the canal. The tasks included the installation of finger posts, bricklaying and refurbishment of some canalside benches.
This package of work was drawn up by Canal Team member Paul Weller. Paul worked with the team to help the veterans gain skills and qualifications to assist their integration back into civilian life. The team had previously worked with Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers on the bank protection project at Ryeford.