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Working holiday for Waterway Recovery Group Part 2

Volunteer’s teamwork pays off!

The first weekend of December saw a joint operation involving Cotswold Canals Trust, Stroud Valleys Canal Company and Stroud District Council.

The teams worked in conjunction with the Bond’s Mill estate management to carry-out an effective and coordinated assault on the fallen trees and extensive vegetation growth along the towpath & offside bank of the Stroudwater Navigation west and east of Bond’s Mill Bridge.
Additional assistance provided by the Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) was too good an offer to pass up. Combined efforts and expertise lead to excellent progress being made. Bonds Mill Estate Management contractors then continued the good work.

Photo by SVCC Chairman Peter Best

The WRG team came back again over the Christmas holidays. They continued the clearance of undergrowth and fallen willow branches along the offside of the canal from Newtown Roving Bridge to The Ocean Railway Bridge. The picture below is of the group undergoing their initial Site Induction.

Photo by WRG Member David Miller

Over thirty wrgies were accommodated from Boxing Day to New Year’s Day in former office buildings at Brimscombe Port.

The Christmas Camp was led by Ian Rutledge and Dave Hearnden, a Local Government Officer from London. Dave’s wife Maria catered for the group throughout their stay.

The team uncovered an interesting piece of second world war engineering. This was a sluice arrangement used to direct canal water towards the nearby Hoffman Factory. The canal water was used to cool down the machinery engaged in the production of aircraft bearings.

A cosmopolitan group

The group came from near and far. A wide selection of accents were audible. The distinctive lilts of Lancashire, London, Scotland, Shropshire and the West Country were heard communicating enthusiastically with volunteers from France and Germany.

The Waterway Recovery Group’s Christmas Camp on the Cotswold Canals has now drawn to a close. The distant buzz of chainsaw motors has faded away, the wisps of bonfire smoke across the Stroudwater have dwindled, the ashes have cooled and the wrgies are now away back home.

So, its goodbye from him

Dave Hearnden (pictured above) smiled and said… “But don’t worry we’ll be back. We like it here!” 

Asked why he felt so positive about wintertime working in the west of England he replied… “Because we can see that our work is worthwhile and is having an effect. We like seeing the progress that is made between our visits… So, all of that, plus we are always so well looked after by the local volunteers.” 

Click here, or on Dave Hearnden’s photo above, to view Mike Gallagher’s WRGIEs Album
showing the wrgies at work on previous visits

Time to spare and energy to share?

Click here, or on the image below, to find out more about saving canals