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WRG Forestry Team Report

Tree maintenance report by Paul Rutter – CCT Biodiversity Director

The Water Recovery Group forestry team made another welcome and important visit to the canal on the weekend of 8th – 10th March in order to carry out some long planned tree maintenance & reduction work between Ryeford Locks and Ryeford bridge.

Vulnerable section

This section of the canal has become increasingly vulnerable to erosion from the river that runs just a few feet from the canal, separated only by the towpath!

The first picture taken by Project Manager Steve Pickover illustrates this risky situation.

Receding water levels permit work

Recent storms and wet weather and high levels of fast flowing water made the situation even more of a priority. The high and fast water prevented this work until the levels had receded.

In fact the sun shone throughout the weekend and there was no wind. On Saturday and Sunday the team removed dead and heavy alder and willow trees that were overhanging the canal and river.

Regrowth encouraged

Thinning out the large alders will allow increased light levels to reach the river bank. This will encourage vegetation to grow. Some bank restoration may also be necessary.

The alders will soon re-sprout low down where they have been cut. This will reduce the risk of failure and enable the trees to hold the bank together in the long term. It will also become an attractive and easily managed habitat.

Some willows were trimmed back to the original 6 feet high bole. The trees will now regrow in a better balanced way with less risk of branches snapping off into the river.

Some lumps of deadwood timber have been retained as support for invertebrates in this area.

Maintenance fleet deployed

Three of the Cotswold Canals Trust Maintenance vessels were brought to the site by their crews to work alongside the wrgie tree teams. The boats carried the brash and some of the heavier timber away from this restricted part of the canal corridor.

Work here will now stop here for the nesting season.

Click on the photos to view larger versions.

Click here to view Mike Gallagher's full set of wrg forestry photographs

A BIG thank you

Project manager Steve Pickover adds… “We give a big thank you to the wrgie tree team and everyone who carried out the challenging task of carefully removing some large trees without damaging any adjacent growth or structures. It was hard work but we all enjoyed it”

Return of the London wrgies this weekend

SDC's Jon Pontefract reports that over twenty waterway recovery group people from the London area will be back this coming wekend 14th – 16th March. The team will be deployed on masonry and concrete casting work at Griffin Mill Lock. A detachment will also make their way eastward to Weymoor Bridge near Latton.

Would you like to join in with the fun?

Click here or on the green icon below to find out about becoming a Cotswold Canals Trust Volunteer.

Alternatively, Click here or on the red icon below if waterway recovery group membership and activity appeals to you.