The August work party was a three day effort that, despite some very heavy rain showers, managed to make considerable progress on decommissioning the Redwith site and preparing the new site.
Work started on Friday with the usual round of deliveries and the dismantling of the welfare shelter at Redwith. The shelter was then transported to the new site at Lloyds. In preparation for excavation works, a CAT scan was done on the towpath at Pryces Bridge. This process has nothing to do with felines but rather is to check for the presence of underground electrical cables. None were found.
Come Saturday and work started on the installation of the newt fence on the towpath. The fence was positioned to allow future work to take place in the channel whilst maintaining public access to the towpath. In order to permit works on a culvert beneath the channel two ‘newt grids’ were installed. These devices can best be described as resembling a small version of a cattle grid. They are two sections of steel channel welded together such that there is a gap between them which is too large for newts to pass, and when buried in the towpath act as a barrier. The first stage of the newt fence installation involved digging a trench with the Kanga. Predictably the presence of a considerable amount of stone in the towpath made this a harder task than digging in the fields on the offside, but eventually the 70 metres of fence was installed by mid morning on Sunday. The gang installing the two grids across the towpath had no mechanical aids but a couple of hours of hard work with picks, mattocks and spades did the trick. Oh.. and all this was done in near continuous heavy rain!
The other work on Sunday was a final clearout of unwanted items at Redwith compound. On the subject of compounds, during August CRT contractors have been hard at work preparing our new home at Lloyds Feeds. As can be seen from the images there are two areas of hard standing and a stoned access to the channel. It is hoped that work to complete the compound will take place during the September work party. The expectation during the work party was that the newt enclosure would be completed by installation of a clay dam across the channel sometime later in the month. This would have allowed the remaining section of newt fence to be installed across the top of the dam. Alas all of this work was dependant on the granting of a newt licence by Natural England. Well, we waited and waited for the licence, and several possible weekend dates came and went, but no licence. Watch this space!