Wallbridge Lower Lock Update No. 1

Progress Report No. 1

The first stages of work at Lower Wallbridge Lock by Alun Griffiths Contractors of Abergavenny are progressing well. Over 200 fish have been relocated from the water above the lock to the canal at Lodgemore. Fences have been installed all around the site… and with very good reason it seems!

Challenging site

Project Manager Kevin Sunderland (pictured right) explained that the site has its challenges. “It is a long narrow place to get our plant and materials in and out.

"We have had to deal with some real plants first though. Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed are present on and near the site. Giant Hogweed is particularly nasty.” 

Next steps

Having dealt with the greenery Kevin’s team has gone on to survey the alignment of the works and seek out some electricity cables. The concrete dam immediately above the lock has been removed to lower the water level for the next stages.

Channel works & organic solutions

Those stages involve widening and deepening the navigation channel above the lock to 5 metres wide x 1.2 metres deep.

The photos and web cam pictures show a light brown matting material being pegged to the side of the embankment above. This material is coir matting.

Coir is a natural fibre extracted from the husk of coconut. Technically, coir is the fibrous material found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. The matting provides organic erosion control for slope and embankment stabilisation.

A post and mesh revetment is currently being installed along the north side of the channel. This revetment is back filled with stone over a polypropylene membrane.

By-pass channel next

The next steps at Wallbridge Lower Lock involve the design of the reinforcement for the lock bypass channel. This will carry the flow from Slad Brook around the outside of the lock. The by-pass channel will also enable fish and eels to migrate upstream.

 Click on the photos to view larger versions

Funding
Although the canal restoration project is mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stroud District Council, the work at Wallbridge has been assisted by a generous £100,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust. Ian Edwards, the council's Canal Manager, said "Technically, this is a very difficult site in which to work. Access is very difficult and would have been impossible without the kind assistance of landowners. When this work is complete, yet another length of derelict canal will have been returned to its former glory for everyone to enjoy."
Wallbridge Lower Lock Webcam
Find out more
Click here and here, or on the icons below to find out more about Coir matting and Giant Hogweed… and why it is a good idea to stay outside the fencing! 
 
Click here or on the icon below to find out more about the Veolia Environmental Trust.