A peek over the hedge into the fields adjacent to Horse Trough Roundabout in Stonehouse recently revealed an interesting scene.
The picture left shows the setting up of the centre of operations for the dredging works centred on the pound between Stonehouse and Ryeford Double Lock.
Land & Water Services from Guildford in Surrey are carrying out the contract.
Chris Walker is leading the team of five people.
Chris explained the process, “The dredger is a pontoon mounted excavator. It will excavate the silt and place it into the mud hoppers. The hoppers will be moved by the tug to the unloading wharf at the far end of the field. The silt is unloaded on to a conveyor which takes it on to a screening unit.” See the large machine at the centre – rear of the picture above.
“The screening process vibrates the dredgings to sort the larger solid items from the very wet silt. The silt drops down into a holding pit from which it is taken and spread on the adjacent field before being ploughed into the top soil."
The Dredging Gear Arrives on Site
The pictures below, taken on Sunday 30th January show the excavator being craned down on to its pontoon.
The excavator then used its excavating arm to pull the whole assembly along from the Upper Mills Trading Estate to the unloading wharf. The tug can be seen being towed by this manoeuvre.
I asked Chris why the tug was not being used to move the kit. “Because we haven’t cleared a safe channel for it yet. The last thing we need is a scaffold pole tangled round the propeller!”
Spookily, almost as soon as Chris had said that the excavator bucket pulled up what was once an angling platform made of scaffold poles. Next to come to the surface was a bicycle!
We will update you with dredging progress next week.
In the meantime, click on the link below to find out more about Land & Water Services.