Notgrove Trustees visit restoration sites
The Notgrove Trust has made a generous grant to the Cotswold Canals Trust (CCT) to assist with the maintenance and operation of the fleet of work boats and dredgers used on the restoration. Diana and Harry Acland, trustees of Notgrove Trust, recently visited sites where those vessels are maintained and operated by CCT and Stroud District Council volunteers.
The visit commenced at the CCT Western Depot for a health & safety briefing followed by exploration of the depot’s engineering workshops.
Harry Acland was particularly interested in the refurbishment of the hydraulic excavation unit fitted to the recently acquired, former British Waterways dredger, Patricia.
Diana Acland smiled and noted her husband’s enthusiasm, commenting… “Just as well we don’t live any closer to the canal or Harry would be one of your volunteers and I would never see him again!”
The group moved on to view some nearby un-restored sections of the Stroudwater Navigation before arriving at Fords Wharf at Ryeford.
CCT Vice Chairman Alan Jones described the work of towpath widening, surfacing and canal channel piling between Ryeford Bridge and Ryeford Double Lock.
Alan has managed the Ryeford Causeway & Fords Wharf project carried out by teams of volunteers. Some of those people have been trained in the operation of pile driving and excavation equipment mounted on maintenance fleet vessels.
Other charities involvement
The CCT volunteers were assisted earlier in the project by a group of former servicemen operating under the Heritage Heroes scheme. The scheme was made possible by funding from the Peoples Postcode Lottery working with Canal & River Trust and the Help for Heroes Charity.
The canal in use
The visitors from the Notgrove Trust were fortunate to see the canal in use at Ryeford when the Cotswold Boatmobility group paddled by.
Dredger in action
The final port of call on the route was on the Thames & Severn Canal above Bowbridge Lock. The big green mud moving machine, Dredger No. 5, and its attendant mud barges, all operated by CCT Volunteers were in action.
Diana Acland sums up…
“Harry and I felt it was such a worthwhile exercise coming to visit you. Your comprehensive tour gave us a great idea of what you’ve achieved so far – and how much there is left to do. It’s just staggering what can be done by a skilled and enthusiastic bunch of volunteers.
“We feel the grant we have given you will be very well spent and I shall convey the same message to our friends at the Summerfield Trust.”