Men, mud and machines
On Wednesday 17th January, dredging team volunteers completed the first pass of the Thames and Severn Canal section between Bowbridge Lock and Stanton’s Bridge. ‘Dredger No. 5’, propelled by its attendant work-boat ‘Annette 2’ was photographed by CCT photographer Mike Gallagher from the bridge!
The dredger moved the thick mat of reeds and accumulated silt to one side of the channel as a temporary measure. This created a navigable channel that enabled work-boat ‘Wookey Hole’ to move the mud hoppers ‘Warp & Weft’ eastwards through the bridge.
How the dredging will progress
With all the required vessels positioned beyond Stanton’s Bridge, the dredger then turned around and began to work back towards Bowbridge Lock.
The aim is to dredge the whole pound from Stanton’s Bridge back to Bowbridge Lock to a navigable depth of 4ft 6in (1.5 metres). The dredged material will be loaded into the mud barges. Work-boat ‘Wookey Hole’ will then move the loaded mud barges back through Stanton’s Bridge to the offloading point.
The long reach excavator will unload the mud barges and transfer the material to the two tracked excavators. Using their now well-honed landscaping skills the excavator operators will distribute the material onto the field between the railway and canal.
Photo by Peter Powis
Further help and equipment is at hand
The dredging fleet will soon be augmented by the addition of the 20 tonne, narrow beam, spud-leg dredger Patricia. Formerly owned and operated by British Waterways, the machine is currently being refurbished by CCT’s Western Depot volunteers.