This might have been the last full restoration work party of the year but any ‘end of term’ feeling was notable by its absence. One reason for this was that the volunteers were too busy trying to finish a number of tasks to deadlines to think about such notions. Also since work now takes place at base throughout the year there is no obvious break point between summer and winter work.
The majority of the large number of volunteers present on Friday was employed on work on the Phase 1A channel. The morning was taken up by placing the final load of concrete (hooray!) on the towpath slope at Pryces Bridge. After a brief excursion to Redwith in order to fill a hibernacula with timber and stones the lining gang got to work on the channel. The last few metres of channel, and up the sides of the clay bund, were levelled and lined. The section was blocked on Saturday. After a small amount of additional work next work party this section will be handed over to CRT for a water test which is scheduled to take place during the winter.
Also on Saturday Phase 1B received attention. The large amount of old lining and other materials unearthed during the site strip were removed, and the surveyors got to work setting out the channel. The results of the latter suggest that large amounts of fill are required in many areas of the site.
Work continued over the weekend on the newt ponds at Redwith. On Friday excavation started on pond 6 which is the biggest yet. This was lined on Sunday using yet another variation on the lining method. Excavation also started for pond 7 which will dwarf even its predecessor. Is there such a thing as a newt lake?
On Friday we were host to the CRT team who had worked so hard to secure the HLF grant funding and have subsequently managed the project. They posed for a photograph intended for the CRT in-house magazine. A sneak preview is shown here!
This work party brought to an end the 2017 restoration season. We now have the Phase 1A channel finished ready for testing. The Phase 1B channel is cleared in anticipation of an immediate start to construction next year. The expectation is that we now have enough newt ponds to permit the submission of the newt licence application during the winter which, if successful, will allow work to progress through to Crickheath.
It has been a year during which all of the volunteers put in an immense amount of effort for which they deserve great credit. We look forward to pushing on with the restoration next year.