March 2023 Crickheath South work party report

March 3-5

This work party is best characterised by the 3 P’s: Plant, Progress and Pace. An outstanding achievement thanks to the volunteers’ efforts and some kind weather.

Traditionally, March is the first month when plant operations recommence on site. Since February’s work party, the site has received virtually no rainfall at all and weather conditions during the work party were similarly benign, albeit a little chilly at times. Diggers and dumpers were put to maximum effect and even the task of cleaning them at the end was very quick and simple. By Saturday, the multitude of tree stumps remaining from the previous vegetation clearance were removed over the full length of Phase 1B.

The stump fights back
Stumps galore

This included 20 classified as ‘substantial’ or ‘monster’. The redundant 10” concrete drain, headwalls and chamber were also removed from the channel and by close of play on Sunday over 110m of Phase 1B had been site stripped.

Site strip well underway

Friday saw a superb turnout of 21 Society volunteers complemented by three volunteers from CGI who planted some hedging kindly donated by the company.

Volunteers from CGI

There have been bonfires on each of the recent work parties but this month’s effort surpassed the lot. Whilst a number of volunteers diligently attended the bonfire, others took the opportunity to completely clear Phase 1A of brash and carefully replanted snowdrops that had colonised the channel. With pumping and low rainfall, Phase 1A is now clear of water in the channel although the ground remains a little soft for plant work at the bridge end. As well as permitting vegetation clearance in this area, it was also possible to complete the surveying of the channel profile up as far as Crickheath Bridge. The channel over the entire project has now been surveyed ‘pre-site strip’ and further surveying will be undertaken as the site strip progresses.

Finally, on Sunday, we welcomed four members of the Dry Stone Walling Association from Cheshire who are keen to help with repairs to the tramway wharf and came to meet us. We all have a much better idea of what will be involved and the most effective way to proceed. Work on the wall repairs is scheduled to start later in the spring.

Members of the Dry Stone Walling Association visit the site

You can find an overview of the Crickheath South restoration project here.

Posted in Montgomery Canal, Restoration, Shropshire Union Canal Society, Work Party.


  1. We have been following this wonderful restoration for about five years now; it began when there was a breach close to Grindley Brook and our week’s boating was diverted from commencing at Beeston, to the west side of Grindley Brook, thus allowing us time to explore the Montgomery from Frankton locks.
    We quickly became engrossed in the already completed work as far as beyond the Navigation at Maesbury Marsh so much so that we booked a holiday in 2022 close by Llanymynech to see the canal in more detail and explore its rich industrial links too.
    Returning twice more we have been amazed at the amount of toil and dedication to get thus far at Crickheath Wharf, and the extensive clearances since the start of this year.
    We wish you well in your endeavours.

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