Wrgies winter break at Weymoor
Despite heavy rain and storms during the Christmas to New Year holiday period, thirty members of the Waterway Recovery Group (the wrgies) turned up for a few days of recreational scrub bashing at Ruck’s Bridge near Cirencester.
Country pastimes not conducive
The group however were thwarted in their endeavours to work at Rucks Bridge as their intended activities clashed with seasonal shooting parties. So, looking for work at a less risky venue the wrgies made for Weymoor Bridge near Latton Basin. This basin forms the junction where the North Wiltshire Canal meets the Thames & Severn Canal.
Bridle way bridge through history
Weymoor Bridge once carried a bridleway over the Thames and Severn Canal and on to Latton Basin. The bridge-arch was levelled and replaced by a causeway in the early 1950’s. The causeway subsequently crossed the main A419 trunk road when the Latton Bypass was constructed in the 1980s.
Success on two fronts
Cotswold Canals Trust gained planning permission for its local volunteers to rebuild the traditional Thames & Severn Canal brick arch using the remaining abutments.
The task the wrgies therefore took on was to prepare the site for the CCT volunteers by digging out the infill and brickwork of the collapsed arch whilst diverting the water supply and telephone line that serves Latton Basin Cottage. This wrgie team used the Cotswold Canals Trust Kubota excavator and a dumper hired from Ermin Plant.
The Weymoor Bridge project is being funded by a private benefactor.
Wilts & Berks benefit
The scrub bashing team, led by Dave (Moose) Hearnden headed off through Latton Basin onto the North Wilts Canal. The arrival of a willing team of wrgies was welcomed by Doug Small of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust. Doug explained…"wrgies working at Latton was the best Christmas present I could have had".
Recognition of support & expertise
CCT Trust Director Robin Payne (pictured above) was quick to explain that the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust members and local CCT volunteers have worked together at this location for some years now. Robin also paid tribute to the residents of Basin Cottage Bob & Jan Mitchell. "We are all grateful for their support and encouragement." Robin was also particularly complimentary about CCT member Henry Smith… "A professional civil engineer who has been able to teach us all so much".
Robin asked that this piece should explain the need for some high level bricklaying expertise at Weymoor.
"We aim to recreate Weymoor Bridge in its original form. The curves, angles and inclinations in the original created the classic canal bridge shape. (See the archive picture centre)
"We need to recognise, replicate and honour the skills of those bricklayers from the 1700s."
If you are such a bricklayer with time to apply to this challenge then please give site manager Ron Dowling a call on 01285 841 373.
Alternatively click here, or on the Connect icon below, to go to the CCT Volunteers Administration website. This is where you register your skills and availability.
A Team Leader will then get in touch with you.