Volunteers at work in the west & east
Western report by Paul Weller
Stroud District Council Volunteers Leader
“It has been a great two weeks; the volunteers have achieved so much. We must have had thirty people on site at Wallbridge on Tuesday.”
This was Paul Weller’s characteristically enthusiastic opening line when asked ‘How are things going?
Top gates installed and in action at Wallbridge Lower Lock
Installation of the gates on Monday 25th July allowed the stop planks above the lock to be removed. The procedure allowed the water level in the short pound between the two locks at Wallbridge to be lowered. But this was not just ‘raising the top paddles and waiting’.
(Photo courtesy of volunteer on site — Richard Jardine)
Slow and gentle
The planks were lifted out slowly one by one. The need for ‘slow and gentle’ for this operation is explained by Paul…
“The fish population between the locks needed to moved down stream. This is because the depth of water will be virtually nothing whilst the work to install the new revetment is carried out.
“It took about three hours for the pound to be empty. Having said that, water will continue to flow into the pound from Slad Brook and the Cheapside Pound. As usual we liaised with the local angling club and the fish swam gently on downstream.
“We couldn’t just raise the paddles as we had some ducks and ducklings in the pound too. We couldn’t risk them being drawn down through the underground paddle holes into the lock below.
“One gate has been left open with the ground paddles down so that any stragglers, fish or water-fowl, can just plop down safely into the chamber.
“Western Power have just about completed the relocation of the high voltage cables. Volunteers will now complete the infill of the cable trench.”
The low water levels inevitably revealed a shopping trolley, one bicycle and a number of road cones.
That detritus has been removed.
Whilst that work has been going on another detachment of SDC’s Tuesday & Thursday Volunteers was to be seen ‘scrub bashing their way along the recently reopened towpath alongside Cheapside Pound.
Waterway Recovery Group (wrg) at work in the west
Meanwhile, a team of wrgies have been laying bricks between Bowbridge Bridge and Bowbridge Lock.
Over 80% of the wall has been completed.
WRG in the east
Report by Jenny Black
Inland Waterways Association Volunteers Coordinator Jenny Black supplied the facts, figures & photos for the Inglesham update. Jenny is on site as one of those volunteers!
The Waterway Recovery Group is running two consecutive weeks of canal camps at Inglesham from 23rd July to 6th August. The groups each consist of seventeen volunteers; sixteen volunteers on site with one person back at base at the accommodation at Brimscombe Port in Stroud.
Don’t think for one minute though that the base camp person is having anything of an easy time!
That person is responsible for fuelling the site teams with a range of wholesome food.
The initial aim of the wrg workers is re-pointing the solid brickwork below the waterline of the lock chamber.This brickwork would appear to have been protected from frost damage as generations of silt built up in the unused chamber. The volunteers will also fit scaffolding in the lock chamber.
They will then begin the heavy work of rolling back the chamber edge coping stones. This will give access for the failed brickwork to be removed.
The September WRG teams, who will be on site for three weeks, will continue taking down the remaining failed brickwork on one side of the lock chamber as well as rebuilding the walls in block and bricks.