A report by Jon Pontefract
The substantial timber & steel gated footbridge that once allowed generations of young Marling School rugby players safe access across the Stroudwater Navigation to a pitch on the other side disappeared over the weekend!
This was achieved quietly and methodically in three days of heavy work carried out by just three volunteers. The bridge has long presented an obstruction to the restoration of the waterway. The pictures show the progress.
Marling School no longer use the towpath side pitch and granted permission for the demolition operation to take place in early September.
This was carried out by three members of the Cotswold Canals Trust who together devised a plan to dismantle the entire bridge over just one long weekend.
Ken Bailey aided by husband & wife team Ian and Jo Moody arrived on site last Friday morning to put their plan into action. They first removed the handrails from the deck of the bridge.
Railway sleepers that formed the deck, were then unbolted and carried one by one across the bridge.
Next, the main structure of the bridge, twelve rolled steel joists (RSJs) supported on concrete block-work piers were unbolted and dragged across the remaining bridge deck.
By late on Sunday the only trace of the footbridge were the two concrete block-work piers. These will remain until the canal channel widening works take place.
The salvaged materials will be put to good use – the steel RSJs will raise funds when taken to the scrap metal dealer, the timber sleepers and gates will be retained for use elsewhere.
Satisfaction & Fun
Ian & Jo Moody were asked to voice their thoughts on the weekend's work.
Jo praised the response of passers-by and added, "It was really satisfying to be working in the fresh air and using muscles that don't get used in my day job. During the weekend we met lots of people who were keen to hear about the plans and to see those plans becoming reality. We are all making a real difference to the future of the canal."
Thanks are due to Marling School for access and the salvaged materials and of course to ‘Bailey, Moody & Moody – the delicate demolition specialists’.
Come and join in the fun!
If you feel you might enjoy what many of our volunteers refer to as ‘exercise with a purpose’ then, wherever you live, it is easy to join the Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteer team.
We meet at the Eastern & Western depots situated at either end of the 36 mile waterway. Work is carried out at weekends and on weekdays throughout the year. Find out more by clicking here.
Alternatively, you can go direct to the Connect website to register your name and interest by clicking on the icon below.