WRGF at Wallbridge Lower Lock
The Waterway Recovery Group Forestry Team commenced enabling work for the restoration of Wallbridge Lower Lock over the weekend. The team took the first steps towards the installation of the lock’s Fish Pass & Bywash.
Accents from all over
Twenty eight specially trained men and women travelled from all over England to their indoor camping base at Brimscombe Port on Thursday evening.
Accents and dialect expressions from Nottinghamshire, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, Devon, London, Bristol and Brighton were to be heard in The Ship Inn that evening.
Weather thwarts the best laid plans
The original plan was for the group to form two separate teams to deal with two sections along the canal where trees required attention.
At Ryeford the trees were to be pollarded and coppiced as part of the ongoing tree management strategy being carried out by CCT under the guidance of the CCT biodiversity Director Paul Rutter while at Wallbridge sycamore trees have to be removed to allow the restoration work to continue by SDC and their contractors.
Cotswold Canals Trust project manager for these tasks Steve Pickover explained…
“The wrgie Forestry Group are well known for their high level skills and expertise. We are continuing to rectify over eighty years of self-seeded and unmanaged tree growth along the towpath of the Stroudwater Navigation."
Safety is obviously an absolute priority in such work.
The high winds together with high water level & speed of flow at Ryeford meant that Wrg Leader Clive Alderman took the decision to consolidate the entire team to work in the safer and sheltered environs of Wallbridge Lower Lock.
The result was that by Sunday lunchtime some self-seeded sycamores had been removed from the narrow towpath close to Wallbridge Lower Lock. The useable lumber was gratefully gathered by David Pagett’s own team of Cotswold Canals Trust loggers.
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Steve Pickover commented, “It was really interesting to watch the wrgies at work. So much preparation, rigging and cross checking goes on long before a chainsaw is ever heard."
SDC’s Dave Marshall explained, “We have just issued the tenders for three jobs that will enable the lock to be restored. The priority is to divert the river flow around the outside of the lock, so the first task is to construct a fish pass and bywash beneath the towpath in this quite narrow stretch of canal. In the meantime, work starts here on Friday (21st February) to divert an electricity cable away from the canal to create room for the bywash. The towpath will be closed for at least five days and afterwards will be even muddier than it is now. Please take care.
"We are extremely grateful for the expertise of the Waterway Recovery Group forestry team. The work and safety practices of these volunteers are of the highest professional standard… and that work comes at very attractive volunteer rates.
"It has to be said… they do just what it says on the vans…. Waterway Recovery!"